From 11/11/10 to
11/11/11 * I will be making 1000 cranes in loving memory of my mother. She passed away from cancer exactly one year ago on 11/11/09.
I was 22 years old and away at college across the country when I found out my mom had terminal cancer. I had only two months left until graduation and my strict mom gave me no choice but to stay and finish school. I would be the first in our family to get that piece of paper and it was kind of important.
Little did I know, I would only have six months with my mom after being away for four years. Which to me is way more important than some piece of paper. However, my mom gave me the greatest gift in that short time I had with her. I wasn’t close to my mom growing up but that quickly changed. And all of these experiences that changed my life can’t be fully explained in a few paragraphs but what it ultimately came down to was hope. She never let anyone tell her she was dying, even the doctors who gave her only 8 months. Her fearless strength carries on in her memory and her hope manifests through the many people who were lucky to know her.
Inspired by the ancient Japanese legend and the Sadako story of 1000 cranes, my younger sister (who was very close with our mom) folded 1000 paper cranes with her when they first found out about the cancer to wish for good health. We had been folding paper cranes since we were little but now they meant more to us than ever before. More than just a wish, the cranes bonded us in an experience that I would never wish upon anyone else.
The paper crane and this idea of hope is something I wanted to always hold onto in respect for my mother. So one month after she passed away, I got a tattoo of a paper crane along with the date 11/11. In the spontaneity of getting my 4th tattoo, I didn’t think about the consequences as people inevitably ask, “What does that mean?”
I found myself quickly learning how to respond without bursting into tears. Mom’s never want to see their kids cry, especially tears for them. My mom especially would demand everyone not cry, even if she started to cry while saying it. We all know not crying when it comes to cancer is pretty challenging. So, I created this project on the anniversary as my coping mechanism and strategy to not cry on this day. And I am happy to say that each crane I create replaces those tears and is just one way to honor my mom’s memory and have her story live on.
409 out of 1000 cranes were completed. The project will continue on until 1000 cranes are reached. So keep on requesting paper cranes & sharing your stories of hope. Click to see more from 11/11/11>>
Today I sent 11 cranes to fly. Click to see the video and pictures>>