May 152015
 

TEAM LOVE WINS! TEAM LOVE WINS!!!!!! YOU GUYS!!!!  Let’s talk about what happened during the past 24 hours. SWEET FANCY MOSES. YOU DID IT.

One day, while planning  this Love Flash Mob, I found myself on the phone listening to Liz announce the board’s intention to include EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THE 176 SHEROES NOMINATED. As I listened to Liz- I sensed two things. First: panic rising in my chest. Second: this verse rising above the panic: Give to all who ask of you. Give to all who ask of you, Give to all who ask of you. Then my brain kicked in and patted that sweet thought on the head and said to it with a patronizing smile: “Well, aren’t you precious, little verse? That’s impossible. GIVE TO EVERYONE. HA! Sit down, you ridiculous audacious verse.”

And then I heard from God. For me, hearing from God is really just like hearing an internal voice that’s a little calmer, braver, truer, more certain than my typical incessant, maddening Minnie-Mouse-Without-Her-Anxiety-Meds  inner chatter. It felt like what this truer voice was trying to say to me was: Sugar, step out of the way, please. You are not the boss of me.

And so I swallowed hard and said: Okay. Okay- Liz. Let’s do it. Let’s choose them all. And we worked and planned and plotted because we believe in both faith AND SWEAT.

And then I woke up yesterday morning and it was  LOVE FLASH MOB time. No turning back now. And I said to God what I say to God everyday: “Okay, I showed up. Your turn. Love you. Good luck with all this.” Then my doorbell rang and it was Amy. She came to hold hands and stare at the computer with me all day. When I opened the door Amy was standing there wearing a dress and fancy earrings and holding a bag of Twizzlers. She said: “Since I don’t go to many parties, I decided to get dressed up for this one. Also, this party is a potluck. Unfortunately, I ate most of my offering on the way over here. Sorry about that. ”

Twizzlers

And then we settled in together—Amy and I in Florida—Liz, Sister, and Allison in Virginia—and we watched God show up to our party BIG TIME. THROUGH YOU.

Together RIsing Board

We posted yesterday’s essay at 9. By ten we had enough for Jennifer’s family’s van.

Jenny and her kiddos

By 11 we had enough for Ellie’s legs.

Ellie and Miranda

By 12 we had enough for Joline’s car.

Joline

And then you kept giving.

And we had enough to give Hailey money to build 10 more shelters, and to lift up all the other Activists she represents.

Hailey

The ACTIVISTS are the Sheros who, in many cases, have lived through the fire of hardship and tragedy and channeled their pain into service and outreach for others. Those of you who wrote to us about this group told us, almost without exception, this one thing: I know that my Shero wouldn’t want anything for herself. All she wants is for more people to know about her work so that she can keep caring for others. 

And then you kept giving.

And we raised enough to buy the swing set for Erin, and to raise up all the other Light Givers she represents.

Erin

Light Givers are the awe-inspiring women you’ve seen carrying on with love in the face of sometimes overwhelming obstacles. Some of you asked for specific things for your Light Givers — strollers or housecleaning or air conditioners or a weekend of respite care–offerings of love to ease the weight of the world that many of these warriors carry. We’re in. We’re on it. We’re gonna help with the lifting.

And you didn’t stop. By the time I went to bed we had enough to shower those sheroes who needed to be  Seen, Loved & Appreciated. Some of the most wonderful applications we received were from those of you who just wanted to write in and tell us about your remarkable friends. You wanted us to hear their stories and be witnesses to their courage. For this group, we are going to send YOU a gift card to spend on your Shero. Take her to lunch, get her a massage, buy her groceries or do something that will simply make her smile. We trust you to know how to honor her.

And let’s just say Mrs. B and her kiddos are gonna have themselves a PAR-TAAAAAY.

Mrs. B's kiddos

So I went to bed last night knowing we had enough.

And then I woke up this morning.

And there was more.

My goal—my BIG HUGE DREAM was $230,000. With that amount, we would have enough to give something real and meaningful and HELPFUL to each and every one of the 176 sHEROs.

Within 24 hours we had $259,245. That number went up to $268,248.15 in 26 hours. We raised over a quarter of a million dollars together. Tweet: We Did It!! We raised over A QUARTER MILLION DOLLARS in 24 hrs ToGetHER Rising! #LoveFlashMob @momastery #LOVEWINS http://ctt.ec/Kw5ca+

Love Flash Mob Statistics

These sheroes are going to be taken care of. Because of YOU. Because you showed up. And because you showed up, we can do more.

SURPRISE!!! SURPRISE SURPRISE SURPRISE!!!!!! We’re doing MORE THAN I WANTED TO DO BECAUSE APPARENTLY MY DOUBT IS NOT THE BOSS OF GOD.

1. YOU ARE NOT ONLY GETTING ELLIE HER LEGS BUT YOU ARE ALSO SENDING HER TO HER DREAM CAMP: Camp No Limits!!!! Test out those legs, ELLIE!!

2. YOU ARE NOT ONLY GIVING JENNIFER AND JOLINE NEW CARS- BUT 5 THOUSAND DOLLARS EACH…SO SISTERS CAN BREATHE A BIT. DRIVE AND BREATHE, SISTERS!!!!!!

AND AND AND….We’ll do MORE for all our 176 Sheroes, and we’ll do MORE  for the precious people who continue to write to us for help—people like Lorenzo and Jonathan and Clarissa and Stephanie and Jessica.

We’ll do more together, and we’ll do more for each other, because we believe with our whole hearts that when ONE OF US RISES, WE ALL RISE TOGETHER!!! And now I’m crying again. Again, again, again!!! How is it possible that I have ANY LIQUID left in me after all the tears and sweat??? Ahhh. Yes. The forty gallons of coffee. Right.

I wish we were all in the same place right now to celebrate. I wish we could just all sit together and talk about the miracle of it all. I wish we could snuggle up on the floor in sweatpants with bowls of chips and maybe edamame beans or something for our healthy lovies. But I want to sit closest to the chips. We will also need cupcakes. Lots of icing. Vanilla. Sprinkles. I feel like I’m getting off track here maybe.

Anyway-for now- this will have to do. Please feel my love through this screen. Not even for donating but just for believing with me. You make me less afraid. Life is brutiful, no? No way to thank you for doing life with me, and each other. We are not alone. We Belong To Each Other.

Love Wins. Ba-BAM.

Thank you, God. I promise not to doubt you for at least another thirty seconds.

Love you forever,
G and Amy and Sister and Liz and Allison and Katherine and Erin and Nicol and EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WHOLE WORLD.

 

PS: These gifts take time to give, and we have a whole lot of people to personalize and send gifts to. If you are a nominator and you don’t receive a personalized email from Together Rising by June 30, please email us at [email protected]. We are a 5-person all-volunteer Board, so please do give us until June 30th to work on these gifts before reaching out. Even though we LOVE to hear from you, we’d rather be fulfilling needs and gifts than emailing you back – that’s how much we REALLY LOVE giving gifts.

PPS: You are NOT too late. Love is never too late. We have needs we meet all year long everyday. Click below to donate.

Give Now!



Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
Join the Momastery community on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest


May 142015
 

Rise & Shine!

Friends. It’s here. The day has finally arrived. TODAY IS OUR SIXTH LOVE FLASH MOB!!!!!

Several weeks ago Together Rising asked you to write to us and tell us about your sHERoes. You gathered your friends and your courage and you sent us story after story of the warrior women in your life. The Together Rising board inhaled these stories. There was much crying and mouths hanging open and “YOU ARE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE THIS ONE!”

I truly believe this community is the most giving, fierce, brilliant group of truth tellers and hope spreaders on the web.

And then the hard part came: deciding who we’d choose for this Love Flash Mob. We made our calls, our diligence team poured their hearts into vetting the candidates, and then we spent hours on the phone talking candidates through. This process is brutiful and hard on every board member, so together we acknowledge the hard, remind each other that We Can Do Hard Things, and Carry On.

Which is why it was so interesting when one afternoon, Liz (heart of the board and my sHERo) called. I picked up and said, “HEY! Have we narrowed down the pool?” And Liz said, “Yep!” And I said, “Great! How many sheros are we down to?” And she said: “We are currently down to 176 candidates.” And I said. “Um, wow. Okay. Wait. How many did we begin with?” And Liz cleared her throat and said, “We began with 176 candidates.”

And I sat there for a minute in the quiet and I thought: Waaaaiiiit a minute. I know I’m a writer—not a math-er—but even I know that 176 and 176 are VERY, VERY CLOSE.

But before I could speak, Liz carried on. “Glennon, listen. These women are amazing. Every single one is a WARRIOR. Every single applicant is lighting up her community or family or world and so the Board…well, we think every last one deserves to be raised high. We realize this might sound impossible but the Board asked me to gently remind you that you’re the one who doesn’t believe in impossible. You’re the one who always says: WE CHOOSE ALL. And so we propose that we find, big, medium, or small ways to choose every single sHERo for the Love Flash Mob. EVERYBODY’S IN, BABY. YOU say that. Right G?”

Right. I do say that. I should maybe stop saying that.

HERE’S THE DEAL. We chose ALL. EVERYBODY’S IN, BABY.

If you took the time to write and tell us about your sHERo – your sHERo is IN. Every last one. (You can catch glimpses of many of their precious faces in the Rise & Shine collage above.) If we raise enough money today, Together Rising will send every single sHERo some love to help meet at least part of her needs—from a gift card to help ease a burden to fulfilling your entire request for your sHERo—we want to make sure that every single sHERo knows that she is SEEN and LOVED.

Here’s how (PLEASE, GOD!) this is going to work:

We have chosen three sHERoes to share with you specifically and to Mob BIG today. These people are going to explode your heart so big you will not be able to fit your heart back inside of you. You will need a bigger SELF for your new heart. But no worries: After Love Flash Mob Days, we are ALL BIGGER SELVES. That’s the point.

HERE GOES! 

Jenny

Meet Jenny. Julie wrote to us about Jenny, who she calls, “her constant inspiration.” When Jenny was 22 she set her sights on getting a degree to work with special needs children. She needed to earn money for school, so she opened up a daycare in her home. When a resource coordinator in her town asked if she’d be willing to open up her daycare to children with special needs, Jenny said: “Yes.” So many good stories start with “Yes.”

Enter Malcolm.

Malcolm, a beautiful little two-year-old boy with significant disabilities, began coming to Jenny’s daycare. Malcolm’s mama was a brutiful woman with her own challenges, and Jenny ended up caring for Malcolm not only during the day but through the nights, too. And in the extra evening hours, the long days, the early mornings—Jenny fell in love.

Jenny and MalcolmOne day a state social worker called Jenny  to deliver some news: Malcolm’s mother had relinquished him to the state. With tears in her eyes, Malcolm’s mama had asked the social worker to call Jenny and ask her to become Malcom’s foster mother. The state told Jenny that, even though she was not yet an official foster parent, they would give her the proper training and put Malcolm in her care if she would accept his placement.

And Jenny heard herself say: Yes. Yes, I will.

At 22 years old, single, not sure what the future would hold, Jenny gave up her dream of going back to school so that she could say yes to the dream of being Malcolm’s mother. “Malcolm made me a mama,” she told us.

Jenny has been a foster mother for 17 years now. Her precious Malcolm died from complications of his condition three years ago, but not before he was loved well and unconditionally by his second mama. His second mama was a gift to Malcolm from his first mama. Jenny is still grieving Malcolm, but she works while she grieves. You see, a few years after Jenny adopted Malcolm, she also adopted Dana, an infant with cerebral palsy. Dana just graduated from high school. Next she adopted Hannah Joy and Mackenzie, and raised them alongside Tobias, her biological son. With these 5, Jenny believed her family was complete.

Jenny's family

But then Jenny met another mama in her special needs community who was dying of cancer. This mama’s greatest fear was leaving her daughter Nikkia behind without the special care she needed. Jenny looked at Nikkia, looked at her new friend and then looked at her family. She said: “I will raise her. I will love Nikkia well for you.”

Several years ago, in the midst of caring for her six children, Jenny went back to school. She will graduate in December with a special needs education degree. Her children will be there to celebrate with her as she accepts her diploma.

Julie told us that Jenny’s greatest need right now is adequate transportation for her family. Jenny often has to make two trips to get her family to the doctor and church. Two of her children weigh over one hundred pounds each, and Jenny has to lift them herself to get them in her car.

THIS IS HOW WE ARE GOING TO GET JENNY AND HER WARRIORS RISING: We will buy Jennifer a fully equipped handicap-accessible van. We will make sure that they can safely travel through this brutiful life together.

 

Friends, meet Miranda and Ellie. When Miranda started looking into fostering a child, she met Ellie.

Ellie and Miranda

Here is what Miranda has to say about Ellie:

“Here’s the thing about my sHERo. She’s four and she’s my daughter. A genetic disorder caused her legs to be amputated to her knees and her hands to look different, too. Every day she receives stares and questions from other kids, but her visible challenges are not all she faces. Ellie was in seven different homes in the six years before the state sent her to me. She has so much residual pain over her early life. She is healing on the outside and the inside. We are healing together—and she inspires me to carry on every day. She is my warrior baby. Even though she’s stared at wherever she goes, she refuses to stay home. She answers other children’s questions directly and kindly and holds her head high. She even joined a kick ball team this year and she kicks and tries to get to the bases with the short upper legs she has.

Ellie

My wildest dream for Ellie is new legs. Ellie loves to run. All Ellie wants to do is run, but she is constantly left behind. I don’t want my warrior baby left behind. The legs are incredibly expensive, though, so it’s just out of the question. I can’t give my baby what she needs the most.”

Well . . . obviously—WE ARE GOING TO GET MIRANDA RISING BY GETTING ELLIE RUNNING!!!

We spoke with the incredible folks at the Hanger Clinic, the maker of the running legs that Ellie wants with her whole heart. They want to help her too. If we raise half the money for the legs, they will match it and Ellie will have her legs PRONTO. I cannot handle talking about this. Let’s do it. Let’s DO IT.

 

PixlersAnd finally, meet Joline and Shawn.

These two lovies met working at Pizza Hut.  When they got married, Shawn got a desk job and Joline started art school. She’d dreamed of becoming an artist since she was a child, so she drove herself three hours each way to art school. Shawn was thrilled to support Joline’s dream. Money was tight but they made it work. Life was good.

Then the recession hit and Shawn was laid off. Even though Joline took a night job, there just wasn’t enough. Joline found out she was pregnant. One night Shawn found himself dumpster diving. Shawn joined the military the next day. They had two precious baby girls — Isabelle and Addie, whose special needs require extra care from Joline and Shawn.

A few years into his military service, Shawn was in a horrible accident. After 9 surgeries, the doctors had to take Shawn’s leg in order to save his life. Joline withdrew from art school and she and the girls moved to San Antonio to get the best treatment for Shawn. Then Joline’s brother was killed in Iraq during a military operation. She says, “I didn’t have time to feel any of it. I had to be the rock.” If that‘s not the battle cry of the military spouse, I don’t know what is.

pixler-shawn

Shawn told Liz, “I don’t feel sorry for myself, but I do worry about how losing my leg affects my little girls. You know, having the dad who’s different. And my wife—my wife is absolutely incredible. What she’s gone through for my sake—she sacrificed everything. She’s my everything.”

What can we do, Liz asked? What can we do to get Joline rising?

And this is where Shawn was unsure. This family is used to SERVING. And so he said: “Well, we could really use a washing machine. Joline can’t get to the laundromat because I have the car for my doctor appointments. She’s stuck all day at home, so she washes our clothes in the tub right now.”

joline-250“Listen,” Liz said. “Trust me when I tell you that I CANNOT GO BACK TO GLENNON WITH A REQUEST FOR A WASHING MACHINE. For so many reasons, that’s not gonna fly. Let’s keep dreaming.”

ShawnWE ARE GOING TO GET JOLINE RISING BY GETTING HER RIDING. This family has fought for our freedom and now we will make sure that they have theirs. Joline loves Hondas, so we want to buy them a brand new Honda Civic.

And also. The washing machine. Fine. The washing machine.

A van for Jennifer, legs for Ellie, a car for Joline. Freedom. Today, we are giving freedom. Let’s do this.

And Do Not Forget: The introductions have just begun. As soon as we get these three rising, you’ll meet more of our stars. Stay tuned on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Friends, pity is feeling without acting. COMPASSION IS FEELING AND ACTING. Let’s ACT. Let’s not just say LOVE WINS—Let’s DO LOVE WINS. What you DO with your next five minutes will determine whether or not Love Wins for Jennifer and Ellie and Joline today. Let’s make Love Win. HERE’S HOW:

  1. DONATE. You can make your tax-deductible donation by clicking here or on the Love Flash Mob button at the bottom of this post. Give what you can—small gifts of $5, $15, or $25 max. We can’t do great things, but today we’re making miracles happen through small gifts given with great love.  Tweet: Today we're making miracles happen through small gifts given with great love @momastery #TogetherRising #LoveFlashMob http://ctt.ec/L76xu+  REMEMBER THAT EVERY DONATION MATTERS. Click here to see the miracles you have made through prior Love Flash Mobs. Because Together Rising is an official 501(c)3, every penny of your donation is tax deductible.
  2. SHARE. PLEASE SHARE THIS POST. We have danced NO FLASH MOB BEFORE with a HIGHER GOAL. Share on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and the other ones I don’t know about. Mass e-mail your friends, call your parents, stand in your yard and read the essay loudly – whatever it takes. We need all the whos in whoville – the tall and the small. It’s going to take the entire village for us to give toward every need.
  3. DEDICATE. Every single one of us knows a sHERo. If you’d like to donate in honor of someone you love, please leave his or her name in the comments here or on Facebook. Thousands will be reading and so if you didn’t send in her name, get her rising right on this page.

Okay. It’s time for me to let you go and trust. Your board will be busy trying to breathe and calling each other and refreshing our screens one million times, sacred scared to death.  In a few hours, we will give you an update. CMMMMMON LOVE: WIN!!!!

Give Now!

Love,
G and Your Together Rising Board & Volunteers



Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
Join the Momastery community on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest


May 062015
 

Last month, my mom and I were flying to an event where I was speaking. As I told her about some exciting things happening with Momastery, Together Rising, and my book—she seemed quieter than usual. I asked her what was wrong and her eyes got watery. She said, Oh, it’s nothing, honey. It’s silly. What? I said. Her voice quivered as she said, Oh, it’s just that you and your sister are doing such world-changing, important work. I’m so proud of you. Sometimes I wish I’d done something important, something world-changing—so you two could be as proud of me as I am of you. So that when you introduced to me to the crowds you speak to, you could say, I’d like to introduce you to my mom, she wrote this book or started this company or something important like that. I don’t know.

I was stunned. And so I held her hand but I did not know what to say.

I know what to say now.

Mama. You never taught me to care about the crowd, so let’s forget about them for a moment. Instead, please allow me to re-introduce you to yourself.

family-portrait

There you are, Mama.  Top row, there in the middle. You were born to Alice, a nurse and William, a surgeon. You were the second in a line of seven children. You shared your home (and one shower) with five sisters and two brothers. You were the caretaker and resident goody-goody. You rebelled by hiding in the closet to practice conjugating Spanish verbs in peace. Aunt Rosie told me: “I looked up to Patti. I was in awe of Patti. She always made me feel safe, wanted and loved. I could depend on her. She was fun, a bit mischievous, a bit daring. But mostly she was very responsible. Patti was and still is my rock. My go-to person. I trust her completely. She is full of generosity, love, tenderness, and wisdom.

High School

You went off to high school and were wildly popular, the head cheerleader and homecoming queen. But what people in your neighborhood remember of you is not your crown but your kindness. I found your old neighbor, Jane. Jane lived across from you on Sixth Street. She told me: “What made Patti so special as a teenager was that she was so pretty that she didn’t really have to be nice—she could have just gotten by on her looks. But she was more than just pretty. I always felt that she not only acknowledged my presence, but really saw that I was there. She always said hello and really waited to hear the answer that came back. It made me feel good.

After college, you decided to leave your small Ohio town and set off on your own. You moved to Virginia and became a Spanish teacher and then a guidance counselor. You cared for every student as if she were your own. Remember Cindy, mama? Cindy comes to every event of mine within thirty miles of her home, because of you. Cindy told me, “Your mom listened with her eyes. I could look at her as I would pour my emotions and know she was there WITH me in THAT moment. That was love. That love makes me cry as I sit here thinking about that time in my life with my injured heart. That was her gift for all of us students in a hard place.”

You met my dad at the school where you were both teaching. He was the football coach. I’d give all the money in my account for a chance to witness the moment you met.

Mom-Dad-Young

Wedding

You’ve been married for 42 years now, Mom. I was driving dad’s truck the other day and I found your high school picture taped inside his sun visor. When I asked him about it, Dad said: “Her face reminds me not to lose my cool. To be kind. Having her close makes me better.” Yes, I know what you mean, I said.

visor

I took this pic driving away from you two the other day. My babies were in the car. Remember? And we were all watching you and thinking: Huh. That must be what marriage looks like after forty years. 

kissing-670

You and dad had two baby girls, Sister and me. You gave us yourself and then you gave us each other. You gave me my baby sister, Mama. It was just the four of us. Dad and his girls. Nothing else mattered. We were a team, even when—especially when—things got hard.

mom-pregnant

Delivery Room

family-670

Young-Glennon-Mom

g-mom

Mom and girls

We’ve had lots of hard times, haven’t we, Mama? Remember when I was still drinking and I was so sick, and Craig and I came and told you that I was pregnant? Remember how afraid you were for us? Do you remember the first thing you said to us, Mom? You looked me right in the eye and after everything my addiction had put our family through you said: Glennon, you don’t have to marry him. We can raise this baby together. I was stunned by your immediate courage. You are never too tired to love me, Mom. And you are never too afraid to believe in me. Craig and I did get married and I did get sober but you kept your promise anyway. We are raising these babies together after all, aren’t we, Mama? Craig, me and you?

Mom me and chase

Mom and Chase

amma-party

sister-hospital

Remember when Sister told us she was moving to Rwanda to help save those little girls? And remember how every bone in your body was screaming NO and how you wished you’d never taught her to be so brave or care so much? Do you remember what you said? I do. You said: Go, honey. Do what you need to do. And remember how every night between the time you gave your blessing and the time she left, you knitted her that beautiful blanket—all purples and greens—your fingers furiously moving, night after night, so she’d have a reminder that even an ocean between you couldn’t stop you from loving her?

Knitting

Sister comes home

And then this past year, Mama. This year your best friend, your mama, died. And you took her hand and even though both of you were shaking, you walked her home. They told you to hire a crew but you and your sisters and brothers said: No thank you. We will learn this. She cared for us and changed us and dressed us and prayed with us and rocked us to sleep and now it’s our turn. Our mother helped us live and we will help her die. And so you moved back to Ohio and you and your brothers and sisters spent months sleeping on the floor next to her bed. Waking five times a night to shift her body, giving her medicine for her pain, bathing her, curling her hair each morning, dressing her and picking out her jewelry with such great love, as if each morning she was preparing to meet the queen. For almost six months you left Alice Flaherty only once, to fly to Sister and meet your fifth grandchild—Alice Flaherty—because life goes on, even when life ends. And you held  your granddaughter Alice and remembered that when your work with Alice was done, another Alice would be waiting. Because your work is never done, Mama. We need you so much. All the time, every day. We thought we’d need you less as we got older but we need you more.

mom-alices

mom-alice

And when Grandma died, your grief was so deep and so relentless that it scared me, Mama. What I learned watching you grieve for Grandma—watching the Steady One shake is: You are just human. I couldn’t believe it, Mom. I think this is the moment a woman truly appreciates her mother for the first time—when she watches Her Rock cry and she suddenly understands: this woman has loved us this fiercely, this steadily, this completely all of these decades—and she is only a human being? Is that, then—what is also expected of me? 

Yes, you said. In your grief and with all your humanness you gave Grandma’s eulogy. You stood up at her service and you told the story and the legacy of your best friend. You did her justice, Mama. You were so brave and tender and beautiful. You stood tall and strong and your voice did not waver and you honored her. You told us with your posture, your voice, your presence: Daughters, Our love must be greater than our grief. Sister and I sat in the pew holding hands and we understood, Mama. Nothing, not fear, not fatigue, not deep, deep despair can keep us from showing up for our people. Love often means doing the hardest thing, the impossible thing. We understand. There is always something more important than your feelings, and that is your family.

funeral

And then two months later you were here, in Florida, with me, trying to heal and recover when you got the call that Aunt Debi found a lump, and that it was cancer. You must have been so afraid and so tired. But you did not consult your exhaustion or your pain or your fear. You just started packing. I watched you pack, Mama. And as you zipped up your suitcase once again I learned that Sisters answer the phone and then they start packing. You went to Debi and you sat by her bed. You changed her bandages and you cried and laughed with her—and so Debi was afraid and she was in pain but she was not alone in her fear and pain. Her sister was by her side.

Debi said:  “To me, Patti is the matriarch of our family. She shared my tears, she shared my fears but she would comfort me and tell me we would get through this. She was by my side ready to help me with whatever I needed done. She got up with me at least 3 times during the night, prepared and cooked meals, drove me to my doctor’s appointments. I can’t thank her enough, but the times I do, it is with my whole heart, which is filled with joy because of my sister, Patti.”

Do you think I will forget watching you pack and go? And as a result: do you think I will ever, for one second leave Sister alone? Your youngest daughter will never be alone, mama. Because I will answer the phone when she calls and then I will start packing. I understand, Mama.

sisters-mom-alice

And then you came back to Florida and spent this past winter with us. Remember when we were trying to decide how to help you heal and I asked you what your dream would be? A cruise around the world? A trip to Paris? You said: “I don’t have a single dream other than being with you. I don’t want to see the world, I just want to be with my grand babies. You guys are my world. Being with you is what I need to heal.” And so you came and you were with my babies every single day and it was the best winter we’ve ever had. I watched them with you for months. Do you remember what you kept saying to Amma each night as you taught her to knit?  I was listening from the dining room, Mom, and you were saying: “Just try honey. Don’t worry at all. If you mess up we will fix it together and begin again.”

knitting

That’s why I’m out there taking risks, Mama. Because you taught me that if I fail, so what? I can come home to you and you will look at me and your eyes will always say: You are my dream come true. Who cares what else you are? Who cares?

Not me.

Mama,

Were you afraid, for a moment on the plane that day, that you’d been so busy loving your people that you forgot to do something important?

Because what I’ve learned from you is that there isn’t a damn thing more important than loving your people.

Do you wish you’d written a book? A book? Mama, your love has written the entire world of our family into existence. The characters in your story are bold and brave because your love made them that way. Our plot line is love and courage and hope and steadfastness. Our family is a beautiful story, Mama—and the hero of our story is you. You are the hero. You are the one. You created this family and you watch over it and tend to it and delight in it and you are the closest I’ve ever come to seeing God, Mama.

And here is the moral of your story: You taught us that what matters is love, and that love is relentlessly showing up for your people. Tweet: You taught us that what matters is love, and that love is relentlessly showing up for your people. @momastery http://ctt.ec/w29ba+

And so Sister and I will take care of each other forever. When the phone rings, we’ll answer it, and we’ll start packing. We will sleep on the floor and we will pick out jewelry and we will walk our people home. We will sit with our grand babies and we will teach them everything we know. Everything we know is what you taught us. We’ll give the eulogies, Mama. Even if we’re shaking, we’ll give the eulogies.

And we will always remember that the most world-changing work we can do is this: We can live in a way so that our children will be able to say, Not one moment of my life did I wonder if I was adored. Never, ever did I feel alone. And they will pass it on. They will answer the phone. They will start packing. They will know that when your people are hurting, you go. You show up. Again and again forever. That is family. That is love. That is your legacy. Your legacy is that none of your people will be alone. Not ever. Because you made that rule for us, and then you lived it. We just don’t know any different.

family-fun

Well done, Mom. The story you wrote is my favorite of all time. A better story simply doesn’t exist.

Happy Heroes Day, Mama.

 



Carry On, Warrior
Author of the New York Times Bestselling Memoir CARRY ON, WARRIOR
Join the Momastery community on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & Pinterest


Invest 2 seconds & get your first G-LOVE email in your inbox NOW!!