The cutie in this picture is my cousin Meghan. She was born in 1985 when I was just in the 6th grade. She was the first child I ever babysat for. She was my buddy.
She was diagnosed with Leukemia around her second birthday.
Remissions and relapses, bone marrow transplants and chemotherapy followed the next 4 years, but a cure was not to be.
She passed away in 1991 on my 18th birthday. She shaped my life in every way imaginable. I am a better person because I knew her. I developed perspective at an early age because I knew the pain of having loved, and lost someone so young.
She is our guardian angel – ever-present in our lives.
My daughter Meghan was born in 2003. I asked my aunt and uncle for permission to use the name. They were pleased, but not surprised. Meghan was a huge part of my life, and I wanted my daughter to know her name was carefully chosen, and she was named for one of the strongest little people I ever knew.
My daughter knows all about “Angel Meghan,” and how she watches over us. She knows all about childhood cancer and its gold ribbons. She happily worked to raise money for a school project this year, for a “great” cause. She knows cancer took young Meghan’s life.
She also knows her Mom and her Grandma had cancer, and they are doing just fine. She knows the battles can be won, but they seem to be all around us.
What she doesn’t know, is where she fits in. She lives a life where at a young age, cancer and its risks have become a real part of her life.
She knows she fights every day, to get through her own life with a rare genetic disorder.
What I find interesting is she is seeking a symbol. She wants something to wear to show the world what she is contending with. She was able to express it to me, and while I was amazed, it made sense.
My husband bought me a Pandora necklace with pink ribbons after the cancer diagnosis. I have a bracelet I wear. They give me strength, as silly as it may sound. A sense of focus. A reason to stay on top of things.
She needs something. And it isn’t easy to find. It’s not a blue ribbon, but a denim one representing genetic disorders. I think I will have something made. Anything to help her find her identity.
She is special. She is named for someone special. She is unique. She is smart. She is funny. She is friendly, and wise. She is a lot like my cousin who came years before her. She is tenacious and strong-willed. She is finding her identity. She is growing up. She knows Cowden’s Syndrome will never define her, but she wants to feel empowered. I can’t blame her.
Two special Meghans.
One shaped my heart as a young girl.
The other daily inspires me to be a better human.
I am truly blessed.