Friday, August 31, 2012

CELEBRATION OF THE "EXTRA" ORDINARY

Have you been following along with me this week as I "celebrate the ordinary" at the invitation of Marie Ennis OConnor?  This is my final piece in my celebration.  I'm stopping at six.  I snuck the moon in last night.  How could I ignore THAT?

I have decided to submit this post for Blog Action Day 2012.  The theme is The Power of We.... THIS is all about how WE can make a global difference.  WE are powerful... Together....



This celebration is far from ordinary.  It is a beautiful story of a bond between two women.  One in New Zealand and one in Canada.  Already connected because of their shared diagnosis of metastatic inflammatory breast cancer.  Soon to be physically connected by way of the UK through NY.  Because of something started in Michigan.

The traveling pants.  The Stage 4 Traveling Pants.  My concluding piece in this celebration is in honor of the Stage IV patients.  Our sisters.  Those for whom I am a #FearlessFriend.  Those words have been repeated many times by me and by several others.




The story begins several weeks ago.  Someone is having a moment.  You know what I mean.  One of those moments where those of us who can, should.  A simple message was sent out into the energy that is twitter.

If you are along for my wild ride, you may remember this evening.  I wrote a blog post hoping that Suzanne in Canada would realize there are real people who heard her and who are listening.  There are times in this cancer gig that can be very lonely.  Suzanne's words were raw.  I just wanted her to know she wasn't alone.  Even though she couldn't really feel or see us, she wasn't alone.

After writing the post, I began catching up on my reading.  I was "back blogged" and had lots of catching up to do.  There are a number of blogs I follow and I had tabs on Jenny in New Zealand.  She made a decision to stop treatment.  Choosing quality over quantity, she was going to live on her terms.  My heart broke when I read her words.

I connected with Jenny on twitter almost a year ago.  Knowing she was on borrowed time, I made sure to check in on her frequently.  Except, I missed a blogpost.  The post about the pants.  She had these pants in New Zealand.  She went visiting with them.  She chronicled her travels with the pants.  I knew I had to arrange for those pants to get to Canada.  It would be a nice way for Suzanne to know there ARE real people behind the computer screen.  I sent a tweet to Jenny.

Hours later, we were chatting online about the pants.  I told her what I wanted to do.  I may have sent her the link to Suzanne's original note which is what started this wave of connectedness.  Within moments, Jenny announces, "I know Suzanne from a closed Facebook group."  She went on to explain how she felt when she heard that Suzanne learned her cancer was metastatic.

broke my heart when she was diagnosed stage 4 as well because even if you come to terms with own diagnosis you want others to beat the odds
Direct message sent by Jenny Williams (@jaydub26) to you (@chemobrainfog) on Jul 11, 12:40 AM.



That is Jenny.  Selfless and beautiful and kind.  We were talking back and forth and we were coordinating with Shannon. The Pants were Shannon's idea.  She started these pants on a journey in honor of her younger sister who is a stage IV patient.  You can read about Shannon and Stephanie and the pants on the blog or on the Facebook page.  When we realized that Jenny and Suzanne KNEW each other, it seemed like it would be so special if Suzanne got the pants directly from Jenny.

Before we could get all the coordinating under control, Jenny already shipped the pants to the UK.  Originally a bit disappointed, I was soon oddly comforted by the zig zag travel from NZ to the UK to NY to Quebec.  Had they gone straight to Canada, I would not have seen the pants.  Touched the pants.  You see, before the pants arrived in the UK, Jenny took a turn for the worse and the day after the pants were shipped from the UK, Jenny died.

It was not unexpected but it was far sooner than anyone expected.  Jenny's story is very special and it's worth reading her blog to see what happened from June 2nd when her older daughter got married through August 1 when that same daughter informed all of her cyber buddies that she died.



 



Have I lost you yet?  The pants arrived at my home on August 11th.  I waited until I was alone to open the package.  I had tears streaming down my face within seconds of opening the package.  I saw all of notes that Jenny left on the pants, in her book and in a card.  I cried as my fingers caressed the ink marks and everything that Jenny had touched.

I would not write on the pants.  Instead, I attached a small notebook with a safety pin.  I put my treasured METAvivor pin on the pants, wrote a note to Suzanne and sent them on their way.  I was CERTAIN Suzanne knew about the pants.  I was SURE this was not going to be a surprise but I didn't care.  Given what had happened to Jenny, I was grateful that I had the chance to see the pants.  To physically touch something of Jenny.

Suzanne did get the pants and in another wonderful twist of serendipity.......  well......  she was commenting on THIS blog as her husband was opening a package...  Have a look:


  1. Thank you AnneMarie, for sharing those beautifull words and thoughts.

    Can I "steel" them to do the french translation?

    ...
    OMG
    ... my husband just opened a box we thought it was my daughter school uniform... I will send you an e-mail soon!

    Suzanne
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    1. OMG!!! I can't believe you were commenting here when you opened up the box. The story just keeps getting more and more AND MORE special!

      GIANT hugs, Suzanne. Never forget you have many people supporting you. We all care.

      xoxoxoxo

      (FYI-Now I'm crying ...... wow...... WOW)
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  2. Amazing!!!!!!

    AnneMarie and Suzanne, I hope you will be blogging about the incredible unfolding of these events. I've been privy to the inside scoop, but I know others would love to hear about it. En fran├žais aussi Suzanne.
    xoxo
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I was THERE for her reaction!  What are the odds?  How wonderful that I was able to be there!  And, if I haven't completely confused you altogether, Colleen is the person who started this whole thing.  It was HER message on twitter that directed me to Suzanne.

As for the rest of the story, Suzanne will be sending the pants to METAvivor for an Author's Luncheon which is an annual fund raising event.  When I added my METAvivor pin to the pants, I was hoping CJ might send me another.  That's how I found out about this luncheon.  Since the inspiration for the pants is the book, "Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants," it seems a good place for the pants to be on display.  From there, they are scheduled to head to Belgium to Jeannie who has been patient and gracious with what Shannon has referred to as a "Traveling Pants Emergency Pit Stop" on the Facebook page.


While the pants were in my possession, another woman who signed the pants also died.  Marie Gabel took the pants on a tour of the Jersey Shore.  Those pants were in Wildwood with Marie.  I spent many summers when my kids were young vacationing on those very beaches.  More Sadness.

And I was touched when I saw this pin, knowing that Dr. Love is having her bone marrow transplant at City of Hope......



Nothing, however could prepare me for the decorations left by the girl in the UK who sent the pants to me.  Given how this Celebration of the Ordinary began on Sunday with my first photograph and the accompanying story, THIS was one more reminder that I am on the right path.  Affixed to the pants in the UK..... I was the first one to see the latest decorations added to the pants.  What Are The Odds?




And that, my dear friends, is what I call "Full Circle" ......  My Celebration from Ordinary to EXTRA-Ordinary.  What a beautiful tapestry has been woven.  What wonderful connections have been made.  What sweet and bittersweet serendipity. What a week!




24 comments:

  1. The beauty of connection - I love this. Thanks for ending my week on such a great note -

    Hugs,
    Jody

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    1. Thanks, Jody,

      When one finishes things at 3AM, the following day I read so many little pieces that I might have changed / adjusted..... Truly, #BCSM has a HUGE place in this story. Colleen's original tweet was during our chat! Thank YOU for building a community that has been such a source of support. You own a piece of the "connection."

      xoxo
      AnneMarie

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  2. I have goosebumps, AM.
    Yet another reminder that "when you commit to a goal, the universe conspires to assist you."

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    1. Yvonne,

      I love those words. This truly was a "story" that had so many coincidences, I was quite certain no one would ever be able to follow along. Things that otherwise might have been little more than minutiae (like writing a comment on a blog post) turned into significant pieces of this story.

      xoxox

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    2. O.M.G. AM, that is one amazing, sad, satisfying story. This is "The S Factor" at it's finest!!!!

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  3. Dear AnneMarie,

    Thank you so much for sharing this wonderfull adventure, I'm so proud to be part of it. I am speachless.
    Crying again, but it is tears of hapiness.

    Suzanne

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  4. "when you commit to a goal, the universe conspires to assist you."

    I LOVE THIS COMMENT...! So incredibly happy, the universe has truely owned this and has a plan !

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    1. THANK you for allowing me to hijack the pants. Thank you for coming up with such a beautiful and ingenious idea. And THANK you for choosing to support METAvivor with whatever funds you raise.

      I'm SURE this is far beyond anything you may have imagined.

      xoxox

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  5. What an adventure! I agree with Renn, it's the S Factor at its best. I'm so excited I could fly. xoxo

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  6. Dearest Suzanne....

    When I try to "reply" to your comment it goes into the post under the comment you were writing when you husband was opening that package. I don't want this to get all mixed up!

    You aren't a "part of this" ... you ARE reason all of this happened. You reached out with your words and you sent ripples. YOUR moment of sadness, your willingness to share your feelings brought so many of us together. Having Marie Ennis O'CONNOR (I messed up her name in the original post, so sorry Marie!) suggest we blog celebrations of the ordinary using photographs has drawn that many more people into this story. Your words have connected dozens of people. DOZENS....

    xoxoxo

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  7. Renn..... Jan.....

    The S Factor.... Sync'd Serendipitous Sad Special .....

    Hugs to both of you...

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  8. Great post AnneMarie! For more on the "S factor" check out my latest post:

    http://habitualgratitude.blogspot.com/2012/08/celebrating-ordinary-round-2.html

    Thanks for the time, effort, thought, heart, and soul that you put into your posts!

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    1. Perfect! I love that you and Jan are in sync! It's great to see this ongoing connection.

      xoxo

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  9. It is a beautiful story about a wonderful journey, but I think there is a part you're missing.

    In your never-ending commitment to #FearlessFriend-hood, I am not sure you see the role you so frequently play in the weaving of tapestries. None of these events "just happened." Rather, you made them happen. You make, often, the choice to reach out to those who are new, and those who are in need. You do so with respect and honesty and a balance of optimism and realism. With your view of the big picture, and your connections to so many, you "seam"lessly bring people together with a loving common thread.

    It's a gift, Anne Marie...not everyone can do that. In fact, very few can. Remember to see your awesome hand in the fabric of this community! I love you!!!

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    1. I didn't expect to see such beautiful words. I love you DEARLY. Now, I'm going to wash my face. There is makeup dripping down from the unexpected tears.

      xoxoxo

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  10. Awesome outstandingly awesome. I am moved, I am touched....This is a true story of the Sisterhood of the travelling pants.....
    Love Alli....XXX

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    1. xoxoxox

      Just came from your blog.... I am So sorry ... keeping your friend's family close.

      AnneMarie

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  11. Oh wow, what a fascinating circle of events. The heart in your words. Full circle indeed. I feel the lovely ladies who have died, with your words.

    No accidents.

    You really must be centered and in communion with nature, spirit, people. Because you listen, and follow your instincts and look what happened.

    Beautiful and sad...we keep going.

    Thank you.

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    1. Thanks, Denise.

      No accidents is right. I'm still learning to follow my instincts-- I'm still trying to figure out where I fit into this advocate/blog/social media thing. I just keep putting one foot in front of the other....

      TEAL in September..... Go Teal....

      xoxox

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  12. Gosh what a story. A full circle indeed. I only recently found your blog.. so much information and links you provide. I will come back to read more.

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    1. Ciel-- I just linked your blog here so I remember to "check in" with you!

      You will find lots of support in these blogs....

      xoxox

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  13. What an unbelievably true story. We are, indeed, a loving and supporting sisterhood. Thanks for sharing this, dear AnneMarie.
    XOXOXO,
    Brenda

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    1. Brenda,

      I could not have scripted this better if I were making a short movie. People might think I was embellishing --- some of the things were so "coincidental" ....

      xoxox

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  14. fascinating journal structure http://casinogamesonlinee@blogspot.com

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