Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Red Boots

As I scrambled madly, up to my elbows in shoes, trying not to be late for whatever really important meeting I needed to be at next, I realized the truth.  My shoes, as well as my life, are a disorganized mess.

This blog, like my shoe closet (and my life) is a random conglomeration of the stuff I care about, the things I need, and the "shoes" that have been given to me, and I hold onto, hoping they will fit one day. My style could be called "eclectic" since my shoe closet contains an array of styles, from the black platform boots that make me at least 5 inches taller, to the slip on casual beach shoes that I wear when I want to relax, to the sparkly princess shoes that go with the blue cocktail dress that is still waiting for the right occasion to be worn. Some of my shoes are incomplete pairs.  There's probably a match to it in there, I just haven't needed it badly enough to search for it. These lonely fellows remind me of the things I will get to "some day".  Like learning to speak fluent Spanish, and knitting.  Both are on my list, and I'm not willing to throw them out.  They're just waiting their turn.

I have to admit, one of my favorite pairs of shoes are my red boots. They make me feel like I can give heart disease a kick in the pants and a run for it's money. I feel so empowered when I wear them. They remind me of my friend Stephanie, and how she survived a heart attack on Pike's Peak, waiting for hours for the helicopter to rescue her.  They make me think of Sue walking into the ER as her heart was stopping, announcing to the nurse "I think I'm having a heart attack."  They make me think of my sister doing CPR to save my life in a beauty salon, and I want to take away how scary that was. These boots make me stand tall and proud like Wonder Woman. They make me turn my fear and anger and uncertainty into strength and resolve and drive.

I wish I could give every woman living with heart disease a pair of these red boots.

They say that 1 in 4 women will die of heart disease.  When I'm wearing my red boots, I feel like I can stand up and say, "Not me." (Although, technically, I've been without a pulse, so you could say I've already died.  I didn't "stay dead", so it doesn't count.)  In my red boots, I feel like I can stand in front of my Mom and say, "You can't have her".  I can stand in front of my sisters and friends and say, "Not her either.  Move along"

If we all had our red boots on, we would stand together as an Army of  Red-Booted Warriors!  We could stand in front of every 4th woman and say, "No, Heart Disease. You can't have ANY of us."

It's a great goal, but for now, my WomenHeart sisters and I will do the next best thing.  We will educate everyone who will listen.  We will wear the boots for each other when one is having a "grippy socks in the hospital" kind of day.  We will seek out the sisters who are suffering alone and trying to pretend to their family like this isn't the scariest thing they've ever faced, and support them.  We will teach people how to save lives with CPR.

We will help others find their own pair of "red boots".  We will hold each other up, and try to help each other live long enough to make it all the way to the bottom of our lists, so I can say something in Spanish beyond "eat your beans" and someday knit a really ugly sweater.



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