lessons on cancer and being a redhead from anne of green gables

I'm spirited. I'm stubborn. I'm fiercely loyal to friends. In short, I'm a redhead. Time and again, I'm told these are traits shared by redheads. We're a quixotic bunch, no doubt in part to our Irish roots. Growing up, I was always either Raggedy Ann or Annie for Halloween. It's no surprise as I grew older that I stumbled upon L.M. Montgomery's "Anne of Green Gables" series of books and immediately fell in love with a kindred spirit known as Anne Shirley. Like me, this poor girl was afflicted with red hair, to her dismay. As I grew older, I grew into my hair, but as I child I was taunted. (As redhead children should be, otherwise we grow up to think we own the world. Give us at least til our teens to know we ginger tops should be in charge of everything.)

Some of my favorite Anne quotes:

"Mrs. Hammond told me that God made my hair red on purpose and I've never cared for Him since."

"You'd find it easier to be bad than good if you had red hair."

Amen, girl. I devoured all the books in the series, of this girl who never compromised who she was to fit in, surviving on her imagination and endless supply of a hope for the good in people and all things. Through school, her love with Gilbert (like all little girls, I was positively aching for her to be with him), and growing up.

I'd like to think that these same traits listed above, in conjunction with Anne's traits that I so felt akin to, are what got me through uterine cancer and malignant melanoma. It's also what's going to get me through our next step: surrogacy and our new baby.

What I've found most important is balance: knowing that while a positive attitude and humor go a long way in getting through it all, letting a little sadness in now and then is okay. After Matthew's funeral, Marilla finds Anne crying in her room, and Anne opines:

"Tears don't hurt like the ache does."

A little dramatic? Perhaps. But then, I've been told so am I. (I proudly wear that badge, thank you very much.) Here's to knowing there we have more days of light and happiness ahead of us than, as Anne was fond of saying, "the depths of despair."


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