As I stand in the middle of the department store floor, I am blinded by tears. I put down my phone with the slow realization that I had read correctly the news on the other end -- someone dear to my heart had been diagnosed with brain cancer.
The news hits me straight in the stomach. Then my throat. I vaguely remember freezing in place for a moment, not knowing what I could possibly say to this person. I wanted so badly to pick up the phone and call them. But I was a coward.
A text! That's the answer, I told myself. This way it would be easier to convey to them a message without them having to hear the trembling and babbling that would absolutely ensue by phone, due to my loss for words of comfort.
Almost immediately after I had heard the heartbreaking news, I also heard that this person had started to plan an event for someone else. I was speechless and confused. Though, not completely surprised by the thoughtfulness they were demonstrating, because I had seen it many times before.
I guess it took me back and made me feel weird because for the past few weeks I had been wallowing.
I guess it felt weird because for the past few weeks I had been wallowing in my own self-pity about my own what-seemed-tragic-life-changing events. But at that exact moment I still remember the realization that washed over me. Suddenly I asked myself, "What the hell are you whining about? Do you not see the big picture?"
As I internally apologized for my selfish behavior, the next response was: "Don't ever say that, don't ever compare yourself to another, whether it's a hangnail or brain tumor."
So, I shut up. I cried even more, in the middle of the store, with no shame.
I set for home with my headset turned on. It began to fill my head with music and I kid you not, it was like watching a movie. The songs poured out. "Diamond" by Rihanna, followed by Marvin Gaye's "What's Going On" and then Seal's "Kiss from a Rose," the acoustic version. When Sade followed with "Flow" I was blinded by tears as I walked home.
Then I got an email about the Hearts of Gold event set for November 1. It was a save the date for Deborah Koenigsberger, the sweet creature full of fire and energy who wanted my help and support. What a blessing in disguise. It took my mind away from the pain. Instead, I was filled with the joy and energy to help those in need. The fulfilling sentiment to give rather than to take became my saving grace.
This Jamaican-born star habitually gives more than she takes. From the first time I met her to the present, the fire had not dimmed. She ignites something from others that she only herself possesses. It is something that can only be a gift from a higher being.
Trying to get a conversation going with her initially was difficult. Not difficult in the sense that getting her to say yes to the interview was a struggle. But getting her to be still was a major roadblock. Running beside her from one store to the next, although they were a mere 20 feet apart, was a difficult task. Then, getting her to focus while talking about her own life proved even harder. She only wanted to talk about the charity or her family who supports her cause, and the wonderful people that make themselves available to her drive, the people who give back to the women and children in need. This woman absolutely refused to talk about herself.
It's funny how broken we each think we are to some extent. That is a true statement, whether we accept it or not. But the reality is that no matter how broken we are, there is a piece of us that fits perfectly in someone else's life. You can be the missing piece to another person's life. You can be that one answer they desperately seek.
Hearts of Gold seeks to do just that, be that piece that these individual needs. Bravo Deborah.
It is so fitting to end this with Nina Simone-Sinnerman, the woman with the power. The rock we each seek, may be closer to us even more than we really think. A saying comes to mind, "Search and he shall be found."