Last night I shared Jeff Mitchell’s Facebook post about his wife Samantha’s passing. I had put up a post of my own, but later took it down— it is not what Samantha would have wanted. Not being able to sleep I was up until 3 am reading what she had written in her blog and on her Facebook page. Sammy would not have wanted us to call her an angel like I did last night– even though she was. She would have wanted me to keep spreading the word about breast cancer, I know that. I know she would not want us to cry, but insist we all carry on and continue her cause. But, my eyes are still red and puffy missing someone I didn’t know that well, but yes, I knew her heart well.
The first time I met her was in a line at the IDA Post Office. She came up to me and said, “Hi Linda!” I laughed and asked her how she knew me. She said, “People have told me, you will know her when you see her!” I guess she was right, but I was so impressed with our initial meeting that it reminded me to tell her a story I wrote about a pink frypan I had bought years ago to support Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Anytime that I glanced at it I thought of all those that have been ravaged by this horrible disease. No matter how hard I tried, I could not bring myself to use the pan. I did not want to scorch the sides, mimicking cancer invading the body–nor did I want to get the pan dirty. But then I asked myself if cancer was clean. If the pink colour faded from washing, would the hope of a cure fade too?
I looked at it day after day, and thought that if I didn’t use it, I was giving up hope for the pan, and for the people that suffer from breast cancer. Finally I took it down and laid it on the stove. I watched the butter melt with tears in my eyes. I cooked slowly with it, and thought about how silly I had been. I use it everyday now in celebration for those I do not know, and for those I do. Sammy smiled when I told her the story and I told her I would keep sharing her story, which I did, and will continue. After all, if you don’t have faith, then what do you have? Absolutely nothing. No cures, no hope, and and in my case–an unused pink frying pan.
For seven years Samantha Mitchell had metastatic breast cancer and it never stopped her once. Even though she went through hundreds of rounds of radiation and chemotherapy, multiple craniotomies and dozens of hospital stays she carried on her advocacy for the breast cancer community. She wasn’t afraid of anything anymore and cancer didn’t bring her to her knees; it brought her to her feet. Whether you’re a mother or father, or a husband or a son, or a niece or nephew or uncle, breast cancer doesn’t discriminate and today Jeff and Joyce Mitchell’s family mourn the loss of a daughter-in-law and Sammy’s husband Jeff mourns the loss of his wife.
Sammy, you were braver than you believed, stronger than you seemed, smarter than you thought, and twice as beautiful as you’d ever imagined. I knew that the first time I met you. I know you would want the world to see what breast cancer does so I am putting up all kinds of pictures. If Sammy was here she would say,
”Never give up–life is worth living”, and as Sammy and I both know–scars are actually tattoos with better stories.
Linda Seccaspina, July 5, 2021The family asks in lieu of flowers donations can be made to Rethink Breast Cancer , which was an MBC charity close to Samanthas heart.
Cancer has allowed me to appreciate how much love and support I have around me. It has given me a sense of worth and accomplishment with the success of @turningthepageoncancer. This year, it has also allowed me to have some stability so I am able to enjoy “me” time. I’m thankful for all of this. I still don’t ever want you to tell me “everything happens for a reason” though —