My dear friend Melissa was diagnosed with Stage III breast cancer at the age of 36, with three boys under seven at home. At a benefit at her aunt's boutique, she told me about The Giving Keys. I loved the idea and asked her to select a word for me. She picked "Grace" which is a word I never would have picked for myself, but she said she thought it embodied my approach to life.
I wore that key during Melissa's eighteen-month journey back to health. She was graceful every step of the way, even when she was furious. Even when she was devastated. Even when hope was hard for her to find.
Right around the same time as Melissa's diagnosis, my beloved friend Mia's mother was diagnosed with lung cancer. She battled valiantly with all the fire and passion and love she'd exhibited for sixty years. And a kind of grace, a kind of resilience, a kind of patience that was entirely her own. Mama G., as I called her, was the kind of woman who took life by the throat. She raised her three daughters to be strong, generous, brilliant women. She loved her husband. She worked hard every day of her life. She was a partner to her husband.
She died in January entirely on her own terms, at home and not long after her two grandbabies, the lights of her life, left from their holiday visit. Now her family is doing the impossible work of living without her and honoring her spirit with each day. Mia is learning to do something we all wish she wouldn't have to do. She's being a mother without her mother. I can't imagine how she faces every day, but every day she rises and, with her husband, parents her boys in a way that would make her mother proud.
She is the epitome of grace. So I'm giving her my key to remind her, on hard days, of the quiet strength she has inside.