Through the eyes of an angel


Kiera Kemppainen

A glass my mom had made when my aunt was diagnosed, filled with a Shirley Temple—yet another pink thing in my life.

Everything is changed.

Pink was the color of life. It was Aurora’s dress and that girl from Team Umi-Zoomi’s hair. It was covering my walls and windows and bed. It was happy and bright. It was innocence and youth, laughter, and love. It was prevalent in my life for simply being a color, no meaning attached.

For a point in my life, pink was outlawed. It was too girly, too childish. I couldn’t be seen as a typical girl. I may have had a flawed reason to ignore it, but still, it had no meaning.

But now, it means everything. It’s still love and laughter, but with loss draped over. Pink is honor and strength. Pink is the most important color in my life. Pink shows the moment everything changed. 

It’s more complicated than anything I’ve ever known.

I used to live in a world where hair trains were the norm. We would sit down in a line, typically only of two, and do each other’s hair. I always ended up being the one to do hair, but it was okay. I lived in a world of dying Easter eggs at the kitchen peninsula with wet hair and bunny pajamas. We would play board games with my mom until she quit on the second round, but we’d continue on. It was a world of snow. Of skiing and getting lost. It was abandoning the day early to get in the pool and hot tub. Christmas Day meant ice skating and hockey on the pond. Christmas and Spring Break meant seeing you.

The world slowly became pink last year. Pink: the color of Breast Cancer Awareness. Pink: the color of love. Pink: the color of us.

Then it was a world of tears. It was crying at a wedding and avoiding a goodbye. Now it just feels wrong. It’s more complicated than anything I’ve ever known. It’s stopping a train with my own two hands, kicking a car in the air. It’s unbearable, this pain. It’s not bittersweet, but the memories are. Some days are harder than others. Sometimes I can go a couple of weeks being okay until I fall back. It’ll never be the same, life will continue on, with or without my focus. So I’ll learn to live with this. I have to. I’ll figure it out, piece by piece by piece. I’ll be a puzzle missing some pieces.

So I’ll live on, no longer in the eyes of an aunt, but through the eyes of an angel.