I went and saw Hamilton this past July and it’s left me thinking. A lot. I’ve been trying to find the words to talk about Grace and the legacy/mission that will now be part of Time Snap Shop. I knew from the beginning there would be a part of this business that was more. It’s the part I’m most excited about, but also the part I have found most difficult to find the words to start - because it is so meaningful to me.
Glennon Doyle Melton mentions in an interview with Oprah when people experience rock bottom, it is a crisis. Like a child who goes to the beach, lifts up all the sand and watches the sand fall away and hoping there is treasure left over. Watching everything fall way so we can find out what is left over. People who have been to rock bottom are the brave ones, the wise ones.
When I watched people grieving their lives and their loved ones at their side, I watched 100’s of sand-sifting journies in its truest form. I had the privilege of sitting with them and supporting them with what was left during this journey. What was left were the things that truly matter; except with death, our loved ones are taken away. When I sat with patients with only months or days to live, I helped them figure out their remaining treasures to try and bring some peace and comfort in a time where there is often so much pain.
Some I knew for a day, some I knew for months and some I knew for years. I observed pain, grief, love and joy at life’s most unimaginable time in their lives. Serious, deep, meaningful conversations with hundreds of people as they were dying. I am the privileged one to be the holder of so many stories and so many treasures. Each different, but many with the same woven themes.
Hamilton told a story about a man but as we know, each of us has a story that is unique. Each of us has many parts to us that make us who we are. Each part is important, the pain, the joy, the love, the sorrow and even the regret. Like the song in Hamilton, we have “one shot” to do this life. While my life feels like it’s just begun at 35, I have seen deep pain, experienced some personal sand sifting and shown how life can change in an instant.
Using the perspective of what I experienced, I want to somehow begin to share, to help each one of you define the edges of your life, and find what will be left in your sifter and honor the brave people I worked with.
Each person I worked with was someone’s son or daughter. They were moms, teenagers, grandfathers, dads, someone’s child who had an entire life prior to cancer just like you and I. They went about their day-to-day and their busy lives just like us. Then, one day, everything changed for them and everyone they loved. I watched as they and their families battled the up-and-down nature of cancer and watched them die. I talked with their families after they passed away. I hold what they taught me in a special place and I feel ready and blessed to share these lessons. Not sure how, but here I will start.
One of the most impactful people I worked with was a young woman named Grace who passed away just over two years ago on July 21st, 2015. I’ve decided I’m going to let her tell her story (with permission from her family). I’m going to share her words that she so bravely shared on her blog that she wanted shared with the world. For the next several weeks or months, I’ll share them here with you. Each blog post will be introduced by her sister, Molly, who is also a breast cancer survivor. Molly was diagnosed as her sister, Grace, was nearing the end of her brain cancer journey.
The reason I share this is because moving forward, Time Snap will be donating a portion of the proceeds to Grace Giving, an organization that supports Brain Cancer Research and Programs. It’s a not-for-profit started in honor of Grace.
Sadly, the truth is, we are all going to die someday. Don’t know how, don’t know when, but some of us know sooner than others. Some of the words that come up most for me when I think about my own life/death are 'legacy', 'love' and 'connection'. I realize this is deep and death is a taboo/sad subject, but what if we started talking about it or ‘sifting our sand’ when we are living our day-to-day lives?
I’ll leave you with Grace’s words that are on the back of each ‘GO to School Board’ and I look forward to sharing Molly and Grace’s words with you. From there, I’ll be back on the blog. I don’t know what will come next, I just know that I’m grateful to be the holder of a lot of special people and their important stories.
I will say that Grace wanted her legacy alive, that was very important to her and I’m grateful to her family for allowing me to continue to share her words. If you have a Time Snap ‘GO to School Board’ - when you use it, please take a moment to read the quote each time. Grace wanted nothing more than to be a Mom. May her legacy live on through each use of a Time Snap and may we have an impact on trying to find a cure with our new mission in honor of Grace, all living and battling cancer.
“I have such an appreciation for the little things, like small moments that just pass you by, or seeing small gestures of kindness and appreciating the true goodness of this world. I know that sounds corny but it's true.”
-Grace Oliver (G.O.) the inspiration behind the 'G.O. to School Board'
Full of Grace,
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