I felt like all my life I really was who I am. It wasn’t until Isabella was diagnosed that I felt like I started to become someone who I wasn’t the real me. I was forced to educate myself on medical terms, clean up vomit without flinching, give shots to screaming children, etc.. All of these things felt so foreign to me but they came to be part of who I am today. Sickness or trauma no longer rattles me to the core. The once business/computer major had turned into someone who felt like she was only a couple of credits shy of being a registered nurse. Put me on the enemy lines or have me as your bedside nurse as you cross over to the other side and it will not be a decision you regret.
The one piece of this journey that I still have trouble adopting is the business of being me. There are things that have become part of my daily life that just put knots in my stomach. Public speaking for instance. It is what experts say is the most common fear. Not only are you speaking in public about a new exciting product or a funny story that happened to you.. No, we want to you come into a room of strangers and tell them what it’s like to have a child with cancer. We are going to stick her next to you up on a stage at Time Warner Cable Arena while she hangs on your leg and you are going to tell us all what it’s like to be you. Tells us your fears about how she might one day die or better yet, now that she has died.. tell us about that too. Tell us about how you think she died because people do so little to help her. Tell us all that sometimes you point your finger at us and sometimes, okay.. all the time, blame us for her death because people don’t give this disease enough attention. Tell us that this is a national epidemic and we are all blind to it. Then after all that, deliver the close and ask us to donate.
Imagine having to do this.
I always say that I’m going to surround myself with people who are more comfortable speaking on my behalf. Then here comes the request for the interview and everyone takes 3 steps back. And not only does no one around me want to speak, but the person organizing it really doesn’t want anyone to speak but me anyway. There is no avoiding it. I’m the one.
With the race just 30 days away, I know the requests for TV or radio interviews are going to start coming in. It’s peak season and I’m going to have to skip from place to place and somehow tell this awful story. I wish I felt energy doing it, like I’m doing it all in her honor but I honestly want to crawl in a hole during it and I lose about 10 pounds in anxiety sweat.
I must do it well because we are still growing. I know the effectiveness I can have because we can ask and ask someone for a donation for the silent auction but then I email them directly from me as her Mother and they give. Which leads me to the next piece I hate about the business of being me. The give.
You know when your school wants your kids to sell something to help raise funds for their school and instead of bothering your friends and neighbors, you write a check for $40 so you don’t have to ask anyone. I wish I could write the $40 candy bar check all the time. One of the WORST things in the world is asking people for money. You hate it, I hate it. I dread creating my firstgiving page each year because I know that I have to send it out to my contacts. I imagine they are opening the email and saying, “Here’s Erin’s yearly email!”. Not only to I ask you to give, I ask you to ask your friends, oh and come to our race and give to the silent auction and like our facebook page and follow us on twitter, donate blood.. the list goes on and on.
I see people when I’m in Target and I know they are thinking, “Crap. There’s Erin. She is going to ask me if I’m coming to the race.” And you are right, I’m going to. And when someone gives me some crappy excuse about how they have a 11:00 soccer game or they have people visiting them that weekend, know that I’m walking away and keeping score. I hate that I do it. But I do. I got your number. I am polite and not pushy but then I use obscenities under my breath when I walk away. But, I also take private note of people who are there year after year without me begging. I know who you are out there. And I love you. 😉
I guess because after raising Isabella who would make me stop at every lemonade stand because, “it’s just what you do Mommy.”. I find that I’ll give to just about anything. Sure, there are things out there that don’t get me hot and bothered like buying cows for villages in Africa who need them or sending a dollar a day to kids with flies on them. But for me, just about everything else will get me to reach in my purse. It’s just the right thing to do. I also feel like we all do shitty things in our life every day and it’s our way of settle the score for all the selfish things we do. We all need good karma out there, right?
I guess the point of this whole ramble session is to let everyone know that every time I have to ask you to donate, or ask you to give blood or ask you to come to our 5k or create a Firstgiving page, that a large piece of me is wanting to hide while I ask you. NO ONE likes to ask or put themselves and their passed away daughter out there on display. I do it because I think it’s the right thing to do. And no matter how uncomfortable it makes me, or makes you – I’ll still continue to do it.
So when you get the email with the ask, know that I have to ask Grant to come in and press send on my email because otherwise I wouldn’t have the strength to send it. Then for weeks I am worried about running into you at Target too.
I hope that I’ll get more comfortable with it. Just know that once October 1st comes around – I get to crawl in my hole for 6 months and just return the favors I owe. But for now I will do it. It’s just the business of being me.
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