When I first started this blog...gee, only a few short weeks ago...I had no idea what my goal was. I guess much of it is part of my grieving process after my brother's death. Maybe it is a way for me to just vent a little and try to let one or two people know why he died...to give some meaning to it. I'm not a heavy griever...I believe in holding memories of those I've lost fondly, but continuing on with my life as they would have wished. So...I figured I'd post a few comments...add a link or two...and then move on. But this has become more than that...so much more.
I realized I had a love of writing a few years ago and I started to share my thoughts and stories in a blog. (http://aestep.blogspot.com/ if you're interested). But my interest faded....as I had only one regular reader. My brother. He expressed that he enjoyed my writing, and I sort of wrote my thoughts for him. Yes, I had dreams of addressing a much larger audience, but almost every entry was written knowing that he would read my thoughts. But again, my efforts faded over time, And after Jeff passed away...gee, only a few short months ago...I really wasn't sure I had a need to "blog" any more.
When I last saw Jeff in September, 2010, we talked about many things. His prognosis was 3 months from August and he was already starting to show signs of degrading. He had memory lapses...sometimes not knowing who I was. But we still talked and shared a little (we've never been big sharing brothers). But one thing I "joked" about was making a blog as an awareness campaign. He looked at me and, with full recognition, said, "Do it." Again, I wasn't sure why I should...afterall, my only reader of my thoughts was right there before me...and his eyesight was fading as quick as his memory. I had no idea why I should write it...but I told him I would.
I have no idea why, but in January, I started to feel the urge to write again. I played around with a black ribbon logo and recalled another discussion Jeff and I had about how great it would be if black ribbons would be as popular as the breast cancer awareness pink ribbons. And that's how "Black is the New Pink" was born. But did I really have a lot of faith that the word would spread? Not really. Like I said before...my best reader...well, you know. But I posted it nevertheless. And an astonishing thing happened. Poeple started to read.
Admittedly, I probably have become a nuisiance to my Facebook friends as I post almost daily links to Melanoma-related articles and links from my companion Facebook page. But I'm begun to research and explore other people's stories of melanoma...awareness, survival, and daily struggles. I've reached out to just say hello...asked people's help to spread the word...and they have! It's been simply amazing! Now, I know I don't have many readers yet...but a few are so much more than one. And the list keeps growing a little more each day. And each time I see the number rise, I wonder if one...just one...person has read my words, or those of people I've linked with, and made a decision to avoid a tanning bed or applied some sunscreen. Afterall, that's the goal...awareness.
Jeff told me to do it, and I plan to keep at it. And I hope to do more as I learn more. Please keep reading my posts and links...and please help me spread the word!