On August 4th, 2016, I lost my mother to cancer, and my best friend to suicide barely a month later. Four days before my mother passed, I had packed up my life, quit my job and moved to another state so that I could finish school like she wanted. My world was flipped upside down, and I somehow stumbled upon The Giving Keys. I purchased a key with the word Strength engraved on it. When my mother went through her very last radiation treatment, she wanted so badly to give up and quit. She told me that she imagined me standing next to her, encouraging her and reminding her of her strength. After her death, and that of my best friend, I was the one that needed to be reminded of MY strength. I wore my necklace every single day, and spread the word of TGK every time I was asked about my key. I had found my strength.
A week ago I was eating lunch at my favorite Thai place near campus. It's a tiny hole-in-the-wall restaurant, so most of the tables are very close to one another. At the table next to me were two middle-aged women talking about God. I'm not a religious person, but I encourage people to find strength in whatever religion or belief will help them do so. Part way through the conversation, the woman who had her back to me started silently sobbing. She spoke to her friend about her husband and his battle with death, and that she was trying to remain strong for him, but her beloved was giving up. She didn't understand why, and it was breaking her. I had an overwhelming feeling to give her my key. They stood from their table, paid for their lunch, and left. I did the same. I stopped her just as she was nearing her vehicle and introduced myself. Her name was Lee. Through the blur of tears I explained my story and the purpose of the keys. I told her, "I don't know what you are going through, but I hope that you will keep this with you, and that it helps you find strength when you need it most." With thanks, hugs and watery eyes, we parted ways.