Life’s Playlist… Hero by Mariah Carey

Day 6 of the 500 Word Challenge by Jeff Goins….. tell someone else’s story.

She watched her 11-year-old son, riddled with cancer, die a painful and grueling death.

I fist met her when a news report was featured on the local news channel in West Palm Beach, FL where I was living at the time.

Her child had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  The most brutal of all cancers, for a child to get the diagnosis was quite rare.

The news report told the story of a fund-raiser for the child that had been scheduled at his school.  Due to regulations, my friend had been informed two days before the event, that it would have to be cancelled.

The news unsettled me,  how this event had to be cancelled over stupid regulations added insult to injury for this family that had already seen far too many bad turns in their lives.

At the time, I was the Marketing Director for a local retail/entertainment center.  The story haunted me through the night and the next morning when I arrived at work, somehow I was able to locate the mom’s phone number and contacted her.

Within an hour she was in my office and we were planning the logistics to move the event to our center.

We hit it off right away, through the tragedy that she was enduring, we became friends.

The event came and went at our center, but our friendship sustained over time.  We kept in touch and she would give updates about her son’s condition.

About a year after our meeting, my friend’s son lost his battle with the disease.  He passed away in their family home.  His little body suffered and by the time he passed he was constantly in pain with his family suffering every moment with him.

During those painful months, my friend rode every roller-coaster of emotion imaginable never leaving her child’s side.  Since his passing she feels guilt, sorrow and a broken heart that will never mend.

Not long after her child’s death, my friend opened a retail store in the tiny town I served as a City Commissioner for.  The thrift and consignment store was opened as a charity to assist families of children suffering with cancer.

My friend had found a new mission, one that would honor her son and allow her to give back in ways that would help sustain other families dealing with the same issues she had endured.

From opening day through the years the store has been opened successes have been difficult to measure.  Financially, the store has never operated to its anticipated dream, located in the small run down shopping center of a neighborhood that was fraught with crime, drugs and prostitution, it was difficult to make a go of the mission my friend envisioned.

Featuring a wonderful selection of furniture, clothes, antiques and accessories, the store should have been a success, unfortunately the neighborhood blocked that possibility.

My friend always kept her head-up and worked towards her mission.  Through her constant grief, her vision to honor her son never wavered.

A couple of weeks ago my friend announced the store will be closing.  Her continued battle to make the store meet her vision would come to an end.

The store will close, but I know my friend….. her vision and commitment to families who are going through the unfathomable days she went through will not.

My friend is a warrior and she is guided daily by an angel that helps her put one foot in front of the other.  The store may be closing, but my friends broken-heart will go on, she will persevere, she has already done more than she will ever know and her journey continues, through pain she will continue to heal and help others in her child’s name.

 

Life’s Playlist…..Rise by Katy Perry

For all my friends and loved ones in Florida in the cross-hairs of Irma…. be strong, we will be there for you when the storm subsides and you will RISE!

If you are staying put, PLEASE hunker down and be safe, don’t try to be a hero.  For those evacuating, be strong!

Love to all!

Life’s Playlist…. Every Rose Has It’s Thorn by Poison

Today is my former assistant’s birthday.  Carla Davis is a funny, dedicated, rambunctious, free-spirit.

When I went to Downtown at the Gardens, Carla was already there, she was about 14 months pregnant with her 3rd son and she never let it slow her down.

Carla wasn’t originally my assistant and when she left for maternity leave there really wasn’t a job for her to return to, but the management team knew we needed her, she was an integral part of our success and we asked her to return at her availability.

Carla returned and found places to fit in.  Not only did she fit in, she excelled and much of the successes we had at Downtown are due to her efforts and vision.

About a year before I left Downtown, she became my assistant, the best assistant I ever had.  We didn’t always see eye to eye and it wasn’t always easy, but I never doubted her commitment or dedication to the property.

When I left, Carla took up the mantle and did an awesome job under difficult circumstances when the new ownership didn’t have the same vision for the property that we had proven to be successful.

Carla’s time as marketing director was difficult and I was happy for her when she got a job elsewhere and turned in her resignation.

One of the things that surprised me most about Carla, when I met her, was her passion for Bret Michaels and I do mean PASSION.  So, today is Carla’s birthday and I thought the best way to send her happy wishes on her special day was with a song….. today’s life’s playlist is for Carla, Happy Birthday my friend!

Life’s Playlist…..Hello, Goodbye by The Beatles

Life’s Playlist…… One Day More from Les Miserables