Doubtless you've noticed all the pink already: National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is here. People of Ashkenazi Jewish descent with a family history of cancer need to know about BRCA and hereditary cancer syndromes. I've written about these issues for Oy! before, and I hope the articles still prove helpful:
• Do your genes belong to you?: BRCA, Myriad Genetics and the legality of patenting genes
• The Unfunniest Thing in the World: Gilda Radner and ovarian cancer
• More than pink and teal: Knowledge versus awareness
Today I want to talk about something less abstract: how you can help people with cancer and their loved ones.
Jonah is the last of my three boys/men to go off to college. I started worrying and grieving about two years ago. The thought of an empty nest terrified me. But, two years is a long time, I told myself, and I put off thinking about it. Sure, the reality crept in every now and then as I watched him tower over me and mature, but denial is a powerful thing to a mother.
I was like this as each of my kids went away to school. I cooked favorite meals and poured my love into soufflés, soups, stews and roasts. I was determined that each kid miss my cooking and me.
This week, after the holiday, I am going to make some of Jonah's favorites and when I go to visit him next week, I will arrive loaded with my love carefully packaged into small freezable containers.
Larry Tye is the author of a new biography of the first great superhero, Superman: The High-flying Story of America's Most Enduring Hero. He has also written Home Lands: Portraits of the New Jewish Diaspora. Recently, he flew through Chicago to discuss his new Superman book at both comic-book stores… and also congregations, as much of the book discusses the Jewishness of its super subject.