Sunday, January 19, 2014
Charm Bracelets in Cancer Land
I was in the beauty salon today for a pedicure and I got to enjoy one of my favorite indulgences: reading trashy and fashiony magazines for over an hour. It is like too much candy but also a visual feast.
But today I discovered a true gem in a copy of Bazaar Magazine. There was an article by J.K. Rowling—yes, the author of the Harry Potter series and of the new bestseller, “The Cuckoo’s Calling”
There between photo spreads of models in extravagant clothes and exaggerated makeup was a two-page story called, “This is a Story of Three Charm Bracelets”. The article had a simple outline: Rowling told the story of her first little girl charm bracelet given by an aunt, then of a much fancier and significant set of charms given her by her editor--representing the seven volumes of Harry Potter. And finally—the point of the article—Rowling describing her philanthropic passion—a foundation that helps children with disabilities who receive either no or very substandard care around the world. Rowling’s Lumos Foundation was offering an opportunity to win an extravagant charm bracelet to those who made a donation to her charity.
Bravo Rowling and bravo Bazaar Magazine—a wonderful editorial partnership and occasion of mutual marketing.
But it got me thinking about charm bracelets. Yes, I too had one when I was younger. I remember a tiny airplane representing my first flight and a teeny typewriter symbolizing my ambition to be a writer, an artist’s pallet for a very temporary desire to be a visual artist, and there was also a cross for my then commitment to church and faith. There must have been numerals for birthdays and a small ruby as my birthstone.
That bracelet is long gone but I wondered today: If I were creating or compiling one now what symbols would I choose to represent the most significant events in my adult, nee, mature life? And what would a cancer caregiver charm bracelet look like?
Would we ever have charms for things like the first bad phone call from the doctor? A teeny notebook for the spiral binder that I still tote to every doctor’s appointment? How would I represent months of chemo? And neuropathy? And all the tears? Very, very small packets of tissues? Miniature pill bottles?
It’s the intangibles that are hard to represent. I know that one can find small broken hearts so I’d certainly have one of those. Maybe I’d include an anchor—the Christian symbol for the word Hope, and certainly a small telephone—all those calls to friends to talk. But how do I represent tray after tray of lasagna? And a sweltering summer with no air-conditioning because his sensitivity to cold air was so painful?
Perhaps you have some ideas of what would be on your Cancer Caregiver or Cancer Survivor charm bracelet. Please share them here. Remember these tiny things are more than trinkets—in fact they are called charms because we believe in the power of talisman, especially in Cancer Land.