The Battles: Three Women Inspire

I come in to work today.  I do some yoga in the morning,  plano my list of things to do, hurry a gratitude list because it just makes things different, put on my hat, and jump on the bus.  Strange times, it seemed.  Lots of brown is not a typical thing to see here in Wyoming.  I attemptto view things differently and ask myself:  what is beautiful about this situation? When I arrive to work it is snowing.

In spite of being happy about the skier’s smiles, my list of things to do rambles in my mind.  The letters to write, the website to launch, the script to perfect, the bookings…I didn’t write this person back, I need to go on Twitter, gotta get that video edited by the 11th.  There are also the ever-following fears that I suppose come with any start-up, initiative, shot in the dark (what if it fails/where will the money come from/Is this purposeful for others/I need my headband).

I open the heavy glass doors to the shop.  I turn on an inspiring podcast as I lay out jewels which do not and will not ever quite pertain to me.  An elderly returning client who reminds me of both grandmas (thick southern accent coupled with a perfectly powdered face) wants me to help her shop for gifts to “perk her loved-ones up”.  I wrap them as best as I can although I am not supremely proud of my work.

I connect to facebook and view the homepage.  A project1979er is pregnant.  There have been lots of pregnancies and births lately and this makes me really happy.  I see Angelo Merendino’s post, or rather a picture of his wife, Jennifer who I feel like I know (as I believe many of the folks who follow his journalistic documentation through photography of her battle with cancer do):



Jennifer, his wife passed away.

Sometimes I try to spread my exuberant abundance of emotion by stating things like:  “hug the one you are with” or “pay attention to the beautiful details of life” and I realize that may seem similar to a greeting found in a card meant for instant inspiration.  I’ll try to save  those phrases for potential facebook statuses.  Or the end of this post.

I will express that I am grateful for the courage this couple had to express their experiences during something I can’t fathom.  I am grateful that there are people with the ability to demonstrate the silent influence of love:  that it is so powerful that without even seeing them together in love, we who even observe from afar are better off because of it.

The list still lingers in the background about what I might neglect or other fervent imperfections in how I get things done.  What takes first place above all that crap are three distinct gratitudes for women I admire.  This trumps everything else.

1.  Sharlie.  That lady spent her Christmas smiling and grateful, ten hours North of Sunny San Diego while she awaits a heart and double lung transplant.  A HEART AND A DOUBLE LUNG TRANSPLANT, with a smile and with grace.

2.  My friend was diagnosed with pretty serious cancer in the summer.  While I struggle with my job and life and bills and such so does she.  She’s working through this whole thing, chemo and all.  We stay in touch and she, too smiles a whole lot and makes me smile.  She paid me THE BEST Christmas surprise by attending my Xmas eve dinner.  As she awaits the results of her last exam she plans her Patagonia trip (alone!  leaving Sunday!) and doesn’t miss an opportunity to express kind words to those who are in her glorious path.  Seriously.

3.  Jennifer Merendino.  I never met her but I think it’s fair to say I am infinitely thankful to have known a bit of her story through the photographs of her husband. She opened her heart to the camera and because of her vulnerability others found solace and hope in her brave exposure to how the disease affected her.  More importantly, it’s her grace that truly shines through in her obituary, how she affected so many lives by just being herself.  In the midst of the struggle she co-founded NYC’s The Empire Dragon Boat Team, an organization with two boats and 50 cancer fighters and survivors.

She wrote in her blog on November 20th:

This is some scary crap, it’s too close right now so I need to focus on me. And I need all of you to focus on yourselves so we can be strong for each other.

My list of things to do will inevitably continue to haunt me and I am sure that all of you are faced with your own trials, frustrations and need for inspiration.  I wrote this today to help us all, me first, to take stock in the examples that these three women of our lovely generation are setting for us.  A chance to pause, an opportunity to thank them and the many other people who gift us with the possibility to be fearless as well.

If you are interested in supporting Angelo: Jennifer Merendino Memorial Cancer Foundation at First Merit Bank


Or just like their FB pages and send them a note!


Don’t forget to:

-Love the one you’re with. 😉

-Do something nice for yourself because you’re worth it.

Thank you, truly, for being part of this project and part of my life.

10 Responses to “The Battles: Three Women Inspire”
  1. k.c. says:

    You’re welcome! And thanks for letting us! I wish the best for your friends, and feel sorry for Angelo’s loss.

  2. Anna Keizer says:

    Beautiful post. Thank you. 🙂

    • project1979 says:

      Aww, Anna…THANK YOU!
      I was truly inspired by those women (and many others). We often think of courage as sexy and youtoubable but really it’s the daily steps that people take to be themselves a midst sincere adversity that defines courage.
      Thank you for reading.

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  1. […] Here’s a mention of her lovely self back in January: […]

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