Mojo Monday ~ The Gift Giver

I normally ignore the ads that show up in the side column on Facebook.  A few weeks ago there was one that drew my attention.  The title was The Gift Giver.  I was so drawn that I clicked the link.  I found myself on a new page that described what happened to be a book called The Gift Giver by Jennifer Hawkins.  From the moment I began to read the premise about this true story I was hooked.  
“What if you were to wake up one morning and find that the person you were closest to in this world had died? With no notice, no goodbye, nothing. What would you do? Where would you turn? How would you live? What would you believe about life, and death? How would you go on? As an accomplished athlete, businesswoman, and mother, author Jennifer Hawkins believed she had everything until one morning she woke up to find her husband lying lifeless in their bed. Shaken to her core, Jennifer struggled to put her shattered world back together, rebalancing relationships with friends, family, and her own children as she came to grips with the vacuum left by the loss of her husband. Jennifer teetered on the brink of despair, until she heard a voice – a voice she never thought she would hear again. It was the voice of her husband, who in six simple words told her of the tragedy that would have occurred had he stayed. How his leaving saved a life, one whose loss would have had ripple effects that were inconceivable. Few memoirs deliver such an inspirational message of loss and redemption, of sorrow, mercy, and reawakening. Jennifer’s story suggests that love never dies. That our world is not as distant from the afterlife as we now believe, and that life is meant to be lived and lived fully in the moment. Her story shows how love can bridge the gap between our world and the vast nurturing universe that lies beyond. And that most of all, there can be a reason for every single thing that happens, even if in the moment a reason seems impossible.”
I knew from reading that introduction I needed to learn about those six words she heard her husband speak to her from beyond.  In my life I too have had to wrap my mind and heart around death, loss and grief.  Back in 1984, when I was 15 years old, my brother Tom, only 21 years old, died in a motorcycle accident.  In 2001, my 41 year old brother Jim died from AIDS related lymphoma.  There is one other death though that took place in 1995 that also shifted my world.  It is like that when you lose your fiancé, as well as all the dreams you had for the future you would share together.
On May 7, 1995 I received a call.  I thought it was my fiancé Khalid who was still residing in southern France.  We had met in the spring of 1994 while I was living and studying in Aix-en-Provence.  I had been living in Aix since August of 1993.  We met at a Moroccan restaurant that was hidden down a winding narrow alley of a road.  The streets in Aix seemed like a maze when I first arrived.  Even I was impressed when after living there for over a year that I could walk those cobbled streets without getting lost.
Me and Khalid in Marseille, France 1994
Normally Khalid would have been hidden back in the kitchen were he worked his culinary magic.  However, on this particular day, the owner/waiter was out running an errand.  When my roommate and I arrived at the restaurant we were immediately identified as Americans by the owner’s wife. Assuming we might not speak French she retreated to the kitchen to get Khalid.  In reality Khalid’s English was not very good, but what he lacked in ability he made up for with enthusiasm.  Back in the states I had previously dated two Moroccans.  My relationship with Mohammed had lasted three years, but ended prior to me departing to France.  I wasn’t looking to get involved again, but my heart had other ideas.   I honestly tried to keep my heart guarded and the relationship light, but as things developed I realized I had never met a man so loving and open with his emotions before.  We were also very much alike in many ways, which was both a blessing and a challenge at times.  
When the time grew near for me to return to California and complete my final semester of university we both found that we couldn’t bear to part.  We simply couldn’t imagine our lives being lived apart.  We visited the US embassy to see about obtaining Khalid a visa.  Unfortunately the embassy representative explained that he would not be a good candidate to receive a visa to visit the USA.  She recommended the only way he would ever get to California would be through requesting a fiancé visa, which in turn required that we get married within 60 days of his arrival in the states.  We both knew right then that there was no question of what we would do.  Khalid proposed and presented me with a ring.  My departure in January 1995 was tearful due to parting, but also because we did not know when we would see one another again.   Months passed after filling out copious amounts of paperwork on my end and he had to travel twice to Paris for physical exams and interviews.  We had to prove that the relationship was real and not about just getting him a green card.  During those weeks and months we sent many card and letters to one another.
Khalid and I in Cassis, France
Finally in April Khalid received the long awaited visa. I began to make wedding preparations ~ dress, flowers, location and so forth, as our time frame would be tight upon his arrival.  He wrapped up business in France and planned a trip with an aunt and uncle to Morocco prior to joining me in California.  Their plan was to caravan through Spain by car, cross the Straights of Gibraltar on a ferry, and arrive in Morocco for an overdue visit with his family, who he had not seen in almost 8 years.  The day before they were to depart Khalid made one last trip back to his apartment.  On the way there his car crashed head on into a tree and he died at the scene of the accident.
That call I received on May 7th was from someone calling me to tell me the news.  So many things changed in that moment.  The life I had envisioned sharing with Khalid in California was not to be.  Initially one of the thoughts that helped me to cope was that everything happens for a reason.  This thought is much like what Jennifer Hawkins experienced after the death of her husband.  Today I am not always certain that this is true.  A part of me thinks that sometimes bad things simply happen with there being no rhyme nor reason behind it, and that really the only thing within our control is how we choose to respond to those events.  
What I definitely love is how Jennifer Hawkins, the author of the Gift Giver is taking her difficult and tragic experience and is sharing it with the world.  I am certain that her book, her blog, the articles she continues to write on the subject and the interviews she gives will help others who are journeying through the grieving process and feeling deep loss.  

I also applaud her courage, for Jennifer Hawkins was aware that not everyone would believe her story of communicating with her dead husband.  Fortunately she was brave enough to share her story anyway.  In fact there is a special note to the reader at the beginning of the book:
I believe these events happened to me…
And are true.
But truth is a very personal thing.
And my truth may or may not be your truth.
My intention is to share with you the experiences,
lessons, and insights
that changed my and my boys’ lives forever,
in the hope that they will deeply enrich your life.
I wrote this book for you.
– Jennifer

Jennifer Hawkins
Here is an article author Jennifer Hawkins wrote in July 2011.
“On February 4, 2009 I woke up to find that my husband had died in his sleep from an undetected heart condition. He was forty-nine years old. I was thirty-nine. It was the biggest shock of my life. The first two hours were a blur of emotion, pain, fear, shock, and denial. The next two and a half years have been a lesson in living life much more openly, deeply, and presently.
In the immediate aftermath of his death, I discovered I had two choices. I could either surrender to what had happened, or instead, choose to fight the reality of it all.
Initially, I fought the reality and life was hard. I felt alone, afraid, hurt, angry and even guilty. With Mark gone, I was instantly and solely in charge of our home, cars, finances, and children. I thought ‘Til death do us part?’ Well, what if I wasn’t ready? I felt abandoned, and could not overcome the thought that Mark was supposed to be there with me to help me take care of everything. Deep down I knew he couldn’t be there, but accepting that meant accepting the fact that he really was gone. And I wasn’t ready for that, so the battle continued.
A few weeks after Mark died a close friend said something to me that changed my perception at the core. She said, “Jennifer, no matter what happens in the future, you will always have lost your husband. There is nothing you can do about that. For the rest of your life it will be a part of who you are. You don’t have to ever ‘get over it.’”
I realized with those words that I didn’t have to act any certain way. I didn’t have to get rid of my grief. I didn’t have to be anything I wasn’t. I was a widow and nothing would ever change that. Not even my deepest thought that it wasn’t true. It gave me the long-term view I needed in order to let go of the pressure I was putting on myself to be ‘fixed.’
After I heard those words I began to surrender to all of my emotions, including grief. In these moments of surrender, there were glimmers of hope, love and life. For lack of a better way to explain it, angels took over and miracles began happening. Almost mysteriously, life began taking care of itself. The right person walked in the room at the right time, needed items appeared without even asking. It was as if the universe was saying, “Yes, this happened, and yes, it will all be OK. Because no matter how hard it seems, there is something right about this.”
Upon surrendering, I was able to acknowledge all of the people who appeared who wanted to help me with my kids, my home, my work…everything. And, more importantly, I learned how to let them help. I’d always thrived on handling everything on my own, but because of my new life I had to let go of that independence. It was impossible for me to handle everything Mark and I had handled before. I HAD to let people help me. I even had to ASK for help. It was an entirely new concept. Like no other time before I saw that there were lots of people in my life who wanted to help, who even felt helpless if I didn’t let them help. So, I started to let them; and in the process I became closer to them. I really felt their love and energy in my life.
After my world started to smooth out a bit from the huge turbulent waves of the first few months, I knew there was another step. I had to rely entirely on myself for one thing—taking care of me. Nobody else could do that in the long run. So, each day I began to do something for me.
I quickly realized that it didn’t have to be anything big. I could make a cup of tea and breathe in the steam for a few minutes. Or, take a short walk around the block with my dog. Or, listen to music that made me happy. Or, go to a funny movie. These little ‘me’ moments kept my spirit afloat at times when the alternative was to drown.
Even now, after years have gone by and times still sneak up on me and grip my heart and gut like nothing else can, I breathe and remember to surrender and feel everything I’m feeling. Because one thing I know for sure is that Mark is still a part of my life. Sometimes it’s just a glimpse of something that could have been, which leads to sadness in missing him. But I know that the sadness is simply a reminder that I’m human, alive and can love. And that reminder is a blessing that I will always cherish.”
The author’s husband with their sons.
Her most recent article is this one published on February 17th in MindBodyGreen
6 Lessons in Learning to Live Life Without Your Loved One
My world crumbled when I lost my husband unexpectedly. The morning that my children and I discovered his body and realized that he had passed on, is one that will be forever engrained in my memory. At first, it was a memory that brought pain, grief, and sadness. And while two and a half years later, his death is still difficult to face, I’ve come to peace with his passing and have learned to live life well, and even joyfully without him.
There comes a day when every person will face the reality of losing someone close to their heart. Drawing on my own realizations of surviving without my husband, here are six tips to learning how to live life without your loved one:
1. Surrender: As long as you fight the feelings or the reality that your loved one is gone, the longer you will feel pain. Pain comes from resisting the truth, stop resisting and start going deeper into the real feelings. You will hit grief, sadness, anger, confusion, and many more emotions you may never have experienced as deeply before. Those emotions are perfect.
2. Know that you don’t have to ‘get over it.’ Loosing them is part of who you are now. That won’t change. There is nothing you have to fix. There is nothing you have to change. There is nothing you have to do. Nobody expects you to be anything you aren’t. That includes sad, angry, confused, all of it, for however long you want or need to feel those things. That may be until the day you die. And that is okay.
3. Lean on people who care about you. Look around you, there are most likely people who love you and who want to help; family, friends, even co-workers. Understand that they don’t just want to help; they may actually feel helpless unless you let them. Even if you’ve never been able to ask for help before, it is crucial within the first few weeks and months to allow others to support you. You may find that there are more people than you ever imagined who love you and want to help. This is a valuable reminder that you are not alone.
4. Take care of yourself. Once the initial shock wears off, it is important that you take care of you! Try your best to work yourself into a new routine; it doesn’t have to be anything extreme but enough to get used to a new ‘normal.’ Drink tea and read a book, go to the gym, see a funny movie, listen to music that is happy and soothing, and, perhaps most importantly, interact with positive people. As you start to formulate your new routine, stay away from negative things, like alcohol, drugs, the news, and people who bring you down.
5. When the grief pops up, let it! Feel it. Drop to the floor and let it wash through you for as long as it is with you. Savor it. Let it tell you that you’re alive, that you loved that person, and that he or she is still in your life even if only through the feeling of grief.
6. Find your joy. Whether it is coloring, singing, dancing, or just experiencing the beautiful tree in your back yard, dig deep and find out what makes you tick. Then, do it without abandon. Let the lesson of death teach you that life is magic, wonderful, wondrous, passionate and simply alive. 
Enjoy every moment you are able to enjoy. Live like there really is no tomorrow, because after losing a loved one, that is the one fact that is absolutely clear.
Jennifer Hawkins and her two sons
Jennifer Hawkins is an accomplished athlete, businesswoman, mother and author. Her most recent book, The Gift Giver, is the true story of the sudden death of her husband Mark, and the surprising conversations she had with him during the year following his death. 
What are your experiences with death?
If you have experienced the death of a close family member, spouse, child or friend was it difficult to release the pain and the loss?  Were there things that helped you through it?
Do you have beliefs about what happens after death?  

Mojo Monday ~ Looking Past Limits

“Can any of you remember what you wanted to be when you were 17? Do you know what I wanted to be? I wanted to be a biker chick. (Laughter) I wanted to race cars, and I wanted to be a cowgirl, and I wanted to be Mowgli from ‘The Jungle Book.’ Because they were all about being free, the wind in your hair — just to be free.”  

So begins a TED talk by Caroline Casey.

 Caroline Casey was born in 1971 an shortly after her birth her parents learned she had a condition that rendered her legally blind.  The twist to the story is that they never told her.  They raised her as if she could see.  She didn’t learn the truth about her eyesight until she was 17 years old.

The story of her journey is best told by her.  Come watch this video and learn about the power of belief and how dogged determination can lead one on amazing personal journeys.

The concept of limitations, and the power they have, depending on whether we believe in them or not is very interesting. 


Did you grow up believing in limitations for yourself? 


What if you tossed them all aside?  Who would you become?  What would you do?


Would you become a race car driver?  A photojournalist traveling around the world?  An international spy?  A rock star?
 


A little more about Caroline Casey ~ She has dedicated the past decade of her life to changing how global society views people with disabilities. In 2000, she rode 1,000 kilometers across India on an elephant to raise funds for Sight Savers. Then, as founding CEO of Kanchi in Dublin, she developed a set of best practices for businesses, to help them see “disabled” workers as an asset as opposed to a liability. Hundreds of companies have adopted the standards, changing their policies and attitudes.
In 2004, Casey started the O2 Ability Awards to recognize Irish businesses for their inclusion of people with disabilities, both as employees and customers. The initiative has received international praise and, in 2010, a parallel program was launched in Spain.

“She is one of those people who, instead of just talking about changing the world, gets up and actually does it however tough the doing of it turns out to be. “ ~ The Irish Times

You can learn more about Caroline Casey and her work at her web site Kanchi.org


For anyone who has difficulty watching videos on their computer here is the complete transcript from the video:


Can any of you remember what you wanted to be when you were 17? Do you know what I wanted to be? I wanted to be a biker chick. (Laughter) I wanted to race cars, and I wanted to be a cowgirl, and I wanted to be Mowgli from “The Jungle Book.” Because they were all about being free, the wind in your hair — just to be free. And on my seventeenth birthday, my parents, knowing how much I loved speed, gave me one driving lesson for my seventeenth birthday. Not that we could have afforded I drive, but to give me the dream of driving.

And on my seventeenth birthday, I accompanied my little sister in complete innocence, as I always had all my life — my visually impaired sister — to go to see an eye specialist. Because big sisters are always supposed to support their little sisters. And my little sister wanted to be a pilot — God help her. So I used to get my eyes tested just for fun. And on my seventeenth birthday, after my fake eye exam, the eye specialist just noticed it happened to be my birthday. And he said, “So what are you going to do to celebrate?” And I took that driving lesson, and I said, “I’m going to learn how to drive.” And then there was a silence — one of those awful silences when you know something’s wrong. And he turned to my mother, and he said, “You haven’t told her yet?” On my seventeenth birthday, as Janis Ian would best say, I learned the truth at 17. I am, and have been since birth, legally blind.

And you know, how on earth did I get to 17 and not know that? Well, if anybody says country music isn’t powerful, let me tell you this: I got there because my father’s passion for Johnny Cash and a song, “A Boy Named Sue.” I’m the eldest of three. I was born in 1971. And very shortly after my birth, my parents found out I had a condition called ocular albinism. And what the hell does that mean to you? So let me just tell you, the great part of all of this? I can’t see this clock and I can’t see the timing, so holy God, woohoo! (Laughter) I might buy some more time. But more importantly, let me tell you — I’m going to come up really close here. Don’t freak out, Pat. Hey. See this hand? Beyond this hand is a world of Vaseline. Every man in this room, even you, Steve, is George Clooney. (Laughter) And every woman, you are so beautiful. And when I want to look beautiful, I step three feet away from the mirror, and I don’t have to see these lines etched in my face from all the squinting I’ve done all my life from all the dark lights.

The really strange part is that, at three and a half, just before I was going to school, my parents made a bizarre, unusual and incredibly brave decision. No special needs schools. No labels. No limitations. My ability and my potential. And they decided to tell me that I could see. So just like Johnny Cash’s Sue, a boy given a girl’s name, I would grow up and learn from experience how to be tough and how to survive, when they were no longer there to protect me, or just take it all away. But more significantly, they gave me the ability to believe, totally, to believe that I could. And so when I heard that eye specialist tell me all the things, a big fat “no,” everybody imagines I was devastated. And don’t get me wrong, because when I first heard it — aside from the fact that I thought he was insane — I got that thump in my chest, just that “huh?” But very quickly I recovered. It was like that. The first thing I thought about was my mom, who was crying over beside me. And I swear to God, I walked out of his office, “I will drive. I will drive. You’re mad. I’ll drive. I know I can drive.”

And with the same dogged determination that my father had bred into me since I was such a child — he taught me how to sail, knowing I could never see where I was going, I could never see the shore, and I couldn’t see the sails, and I couldn’t see the destination. But he told me to believe and feel the wind in my face. And that wind in my face made me believe that he was mad and I would drive. And for the next 11 years, I swore nobody would ever find out that I couldn’t see, because I didn’t want to be a failure, and I didn’t want to be weak. And I believed I could do it. So I rammed through life as only a Casey can do. And I was an archeologist, and then I broke things. And then I managed a restaurant, and then I slipped on things. And then I was a masseuse. And then I was a landscape gardener. And then I went to business school. And you know, disabled people are hugely educated. And then I went in and I got a global consulting job with Accenture. And they didn’t even know. And it’s extraordinary how far belief can take you.

In 1999, two and a half years into that job, something happened. Wonderfully, my eyes decided, enough. And temporarily, very unexpectedly, they dropped. And I’m in one of the most competitive environments in the world, where you work hard, play hard, you gotta be the best, you gotta be the best. And two years in, I really could see very little. And I found myself in front of an HR manager in 1999, saying something I never imagined that I would say. I was 28 years old. I had built a persona all around what I could and couldn’t do. And I simply said, “I’m sorry. I can’t see, and I need help.” Asking for help can be incredibly difficult. And you all know what it is. You don’t need to have a disability to know that. We all know how hard it is to admit weakness and failure. And it’s frightening, isn’t it? But all that belief had fueled me so long.

And can I tell you, operating in the sighted world when you can’t see, it’s kind of difficult — it really is. Can I tell you, airports are a disaster. Oh, for the love of God. And please, any designers out there? OK, designers, please put up your hands, even though I can’t even see you. I always end up in the gents’ toilets. And there’s nothing wrong with my sense of smell. But can I just tell you, the little sign for a gents’ toilet or a ladies’ toilet is determined by a triangle. Have you ever tried to see that if you have Vaseline in front of your eyes? It’s such a small thing, right? And you know how exhausting it can be to try to be perfect when you’re not, or to be somebody that you aren’t?

And so after admitting I couldn’t see to HR, they sent me off to an eye specialist. And I had no idea that this man was going to change my life. But before I got to him, I was so lost. I had no idea who I was anymore. And that eye specialist, he didn’t bother testing my eyes. God no, it was therapy. And he asked me several questions, of which many were, “Why? Why are you fighting so hard not to be yourself? And do you love what you do, Caroline?” And you know, when you go to a global consulting firm, they put a chip in your head, and you’re like, “I love Accenture. I love Accenture. I love my job. I love Accenture. I love Accenture. I love Accenture. I love my job. I love Accenture.” (Laughter) To leave would be failure. And he said, “Do you love it?” I couldn’t even speak I was so choked up. I just was so — how do I tell him? And then he said to me, “What did you want to be when you were little?” Now listen, I wasn’t going to say to him, “Well, I wanted to race cars and motorbikes.” Hardly appropriate at this moment in time. He thought I was mad enough anyway. And as I left his office, he called me back and he said, “I think it’s time. I think it’s time to stop fighting and do something different.” And that door closed. And that silence just outside a doctor’s office, that many of us know. And my chest ached. And I had no idea where I was going. I had no idea. But I did know the game was up.

And I went home, and, because the pain in my chest ached so much, I thought, “I’ll go out for a run.” Really not a very sensible thing to do. And I went on a run that I know so well. I know this run so well, by the back of my hand. I always run it perfectly fine. I count the steps and the lampposts and all those things that visually impaired people have a tendency to have a lot of meetings with. And there was a rock that I always missed. And I’d never fallen on it, never. And there I was crying away, and smash, bash on my rock. Broken, fallen over on this rock in the middle of March in 2000, typical Irish weather on a Wednesday — gray, snot, tears everywhere, ridiculously self-pitying.

And I was floored, and I was broken, and I was angry. And I didn’t know what to do. And I sat there for quite some time going, “How am I going to get off this rock and go home? Because who am I going to be? What am I going to be?” And I thought about my dad, and I thought, “Good God, I’m so not Sue now.” And I kept thinking over and over in my mind, what had happened? Where did it go wrong? Why didn’t I understand? And you know, the extraordinary part of it is I just simply had no answers. I had lost my belief. Look where my belief had brought me to. And now I had lost it. And now I really couldn’t see. I was crumpled. And then I remember thinking about that eye specialist asking me, “What do you want to be? What do you want to be? What did you want to be when you were little? Do you love what you do? Do something different. What do you want to be? Do something different. What do you want to be?” And really slowly, slowly, slowly, it happened. And it did happen this way. And then the minute it came, it blew up in my head and bashed in my heart — something different. “Well, how about Mowgli from ‘The Jungle Book’? You don’t get more different than that.” And the moment, and I mean the moment, the moment that hit me, I swear to God, it was like woo hoo! You know — something to believe in. And nobody can tell me no. Yes, you can say I can’t be an archeologist. But you can’t tell me, no, I can’t be Mowgli, because guess what? Nobody’s ever done it before, so I’m going to go do it. And it doesn’t matter whether I’m a boy or a girl, I’m just going to scoot.

And so I got off that rock, and, oh my God, did I run home. And I sprinted home, and I didn’t fall, and I didn’t crash. And I ran up the stairs, and there was one of my favorite books of all time, “Travels on My Elephant” by Mark Shand — I don’t know if any of you know it. And I grabbed this book off, and I’m sitting on the couch going, “I know what I’m going to do. I know how to be Mowgli. I’m going to go across India on the back of an elephant. I’m going to be an elephant handler.” And I had no idea how I was going to be an elephant handler. From global management consultant to elephant handler. I had no idea how. I had no idea how you hire an elephant, get an elephant. I didn’t speak Hindi. I’d never been to India. Hadn’t a clue. But I knew I would. Because, when you make a decision at the right time and the right place, God, that universe makes it happen for you.

Nine months later, after that day on snot rock, I had the only blind date in my life with a seven and a half foot elephant called Kanchi. And together we would trek a thousand kilometers across India. (Applause) The most powerful thing of all, it’s not that I didn’t achieve before then. Oh my God, I did. But you know, I was believing in the wrong thing. Because I wasn’t believing in me, really me, all the bits of me — all the bits of all of us. Do you know how much of us all pretend to be somebody we’re not? And you know what, when you really believe in yourself and everything about you, it’s extraordinary what happens.

And you know what, that trip, that thousand kilometers, it raised enough money for 6,000 cataract eye operations. Six thousand people got to see because of that. When I came home off that elephant, do you know what the most amazing part was? I chucked in my job at Accenture. I left, and I became a social entrepreneur, and I set up an organization with Mark Shand called Elephant Family, which deals with Asian elephant conservation. And I set up Kanchi, because my organization was always going to be named after my elephant, because disability is like the elephant in the room. And I wanted to make you see it in a positive way — no charity, no pity. But I wanted to work only and truly with business and media leadership to totally reframe disability in a way that was exciting and possible. It was extraordinary. That’s what I wanted to do. And I never thought about noes anymore, or not seeing, or any of that kind of nothing. It just seemed that it was possible.

And you know, the oddest part is, when I was on my way traveling here to TED, I’ll be honest, I was petrified. And I speak, but this is an amazing audience, and what am I doing here? But as I was traveling here, you’ll be very happy to know, I did use my white symbol stick cane, because it’s really good to skip queues in the airport. And I got my way here being happily proud that I couldn’t see. And the one thing is that a really good friend of mine, he texted me on the way over, knowing I was scared. Even though I present confident, I was scared. He said, “Be you.” And so here I am. This is me, all of me.

(Applause)

And I have learned, you know what, cars and motorbikes and elephants, that’s not freedom. Being absolutely true to yourself is freedom. And I never needed eyes to see — never. I simply needed vision and belief. And if you truly believe — and I mean believe from the bottom of your heart — you can make change happen. And we need to make it happen, because every single one of us — woman, man, gay, straight, disabled, perfect, normal, whatever — everyone of us must be the very best of ourselves. I no longer want anybody to be invisible. We all have to be included. And stop with the labels, the limiting. Losing of labels, because we are not jam jars. We are extraordinary, different, wonderful people.

Thank you.