Here is a picture of my favorite winter coat. It is a vintage coat, a pretty royal blue with a slightly tattered lining. It has a great fur collar and fabulous vintage buttons. I have worn this coat for three winters now and am convinced that this coat has a bit of magical powers. In a way this coat transforms me and I want to share its story with you.
Being diagnosed with cancer changes everything in your world. On August 11th 2011, I received my diagnosis and my surgery had been scheduled for the 31st. I opted for a double mastectomy and expanders to be put in right after that, a surgery which would last about 4 hours. The only other surgery I had ever had was a tonsillectomy in the 2nd grade, so I was nervous.
Every August for many years I had attended an antique flea market in southern Minnesota near Rochester. The market takes over the entire town for 3 days and draws people from near and far. It is so much fun to go and walk all over this town and see the different vendors, eat great junky food and take in the ambiance of this charming small town’s event. This summer I asked my friend Anne to go with me. I needed to do something normal since everything else was not normal anymore. We went to the flea market and it was a sultry August day. We were walking down one of the many rows of antique vendors and I spotted the royal blue coat. The last thing I wanted to do on a hot August day was to try on a winter coat! I did though and it fit perfectly. I knew I had to get it so I would have something bright to wear this winter while going through chemotherapy.
Fast forward to December. I was almost halfway through chemo, totally bald and feeling pretty lousy. I was at the store shopping for a family Christmas party. I had a cart full of things to pay for, I felt lousy and I just wanted to get home and rest. Behind me I heard someone tell me how pretty my coat was. I managed a smile of sorts and thanked her. I finished up my purchase and headed out to my car. I heard a voice behind me asking if I needed some help with my items. I turned to see the woman who was behind me in line. She shared with me that her sister was going through chemo and she figured I could use some help. I gladly accepted her help! She was very pretty and had a soothing voice. She put everything from my cart into my car . I was so grateful to her! She gave me a hug and asked me my name. I told her it was Kathy and I asked her what hers was.
“Delores” she answered. I thanked her again and turned and she was gone. I sat in my car and started to cry……my mother’s name was Delores, whom I had lost to breast cancer over 25 years before. That was just what I needed that day…..it felt like a hug from my Mom.
Since then, it seem whenever I wear that coat, people look at me and smile. Many stop and comment on how pretty my coat is and how it
brightens up a dreary winter day. I know that a coat really cannot be “magic” but I guess a part of me would like to think it really could be.
I need to fix the lining and it is looking a bit more worn, but I will pull it out next winter and see if there still may be a bit of magic left….