All About That Orange Bracelet

It's one of those memories where I can recall every single detail about what happened. Like the shattering heartbreak when I found out my cousin had suddenly and unexpectedly passed away, or the terror when I saw my pet rabbit in the mouth of the neighbor's dog, the weather and light on the night I got engaged, and every moment of happiness on my wedding day. 

I was lying in bed, just about to go to sleep. The lamp was on and I was just waiting for my husband to finish up something in the office. Like a lot of people these days, I picked up my phone and started scrolling through social media absentmindedly. I don't pay a lot of attention to most of what's on Facebook these days, but a post at the top of my News Feed immediately caught my eye. 

It was a post from a cousin. Announcing she had been diagnosed with leukemia. 

From that point on the next few days went by in a kind of blur. There were so many messages between family members, everyone trying to learn more and see what they can do to help. Every day we learned something new or found out about a new way that we might be able to help. There were so many friends, family, and church members that wanted to do something, anything. So her family eventually came up with this idea of creating some bracelets. 

Orange is the color for leukemia, which explains their color. Each one says "Love will conquer ALL," ALL standing for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. We all bought one. 

I didn't really know if I'd wear it - I'm not a big jewelry person. While I haven't had it on every day, I did make sure to wear for every day of my last trip and plan to do the same for my upcoming one in August. 

I didn't choose to wear that band of bright orange just as a support or reminder, but I chose to see it as a reason to keep going. My cousin is not even 30-years-old, has three young children, and was one of the healthiest people I know. Her being diagnosed with cancer was one of the biggest shocks of my life, and it reminded me of how unexpected life can be. I tend to be one of those people that plans. A lot. Years in to the future, sometimes. 

In reality, the truth is that life hardly ever goes as planned, and I wanted to wear that bracelet as a reminder of that. I wanted to stop worrying about what I was going to do next, or what was going to happen next year or the year after and just focus on "enjoying the ride" as they say. Everything would be more enjoyable if I just learned to stop worrying a little bit and be grateful for the here and now.

Yes, it was a way of supporting my cousin and keeping her in my thoughts, but it was also a way of telling myself that life is short, so I better enjoy it and be grateful for my own health and the fact that I can still do all the things I love. 

The bracelet isn't a pretty thing or a big thing, but it means a lot to me and I plan on continuing to wear it around the world for a while.