Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Changed for the better .....

I was born and raised in New York.Our oldest two children were born there as well.We ventured west in 1989 and if the truth be known,I feel more of a native Californian that a New Yorker.Upstate New York that is.About 3 hours from the city.I didn't visit the city often.Life never lent itself to it.Kids came and we found ourselves needing to make a life changing decision.Mark is an editor.Television mainly.The two hot spots in his industry, back then and still probably today, were LA and NY city.We believed then and still do to this very day,that choosing LA was the best choice to raise a family.I am sure others probably might have a differing opinion but for us,we haven't looked back.However,there is one thing about the city that LA cannot hold a candle to and that is the shows.Like,I am talking Broadway shows.I do believe that if I lived in NY I would be a Broadway junkie.I don't know exactly what it is.Most likely that unfulfilled desire to sing and dance.And when I say desire,I mean,not that I have talent in either of those areas. I instead often dream that I would have been gifted by them.Instead I live vicariously through my of love music.All kinds.And to me,when I am all alone in the car,I think I have the best voice ever.Back in December of 2007.Taylor and I went to the play "Wicked" here in LA.Mark and I had actually given her two tickets for Christmas.I placed the tickets in a box and on top of the tickets placed a black cape,striped witches socks and a witches hat.She was so thrilled.I assumed she would invite a friend to go and I would be the chauffeur.No,instead I got the invite.Well,we both feel in love with the entire production.Every single solitary aspect.Totally in love.The music especially.So many of the songs but for me then and still now,one in particular.A song called "For Good".A while back,a very dear friend of mine posted about her own experience at "Wicked".She began her post with this line from that very song :"Who can say if I've been changed for the better,and because I knew you,I have been changed for good."I often think about this journey my family is on.That Zoey has taken us on.I know I have been changed.Seen things.Experienced things that have changed me.Honestly,there are days when I have wondered if it indeed has been for the better.There are sights and experiences that quite frankly I would just rather erase from the recesses of my mind.In fact I unfortunately know there are surely more of those moments to come.But if I get caught up in the dark moments that have left me thinking,how did we get here,then I diminish the children and families that I have met and been inspired by.My journey over the course of the last 2 years has been complicated to say the least.My so called peer group has changed dramatically.I have evolved from a "advanced maternal age" mother,to a mother of a child with extensive special needs and now I find myself a mother with a child who has cancer.Each of those steps, each of those sub categories, has left me changed in ways I could never describe.This last place I have found myself dwelling in,a mother with a child with cancer,is the one I know for certain that has changed me the most.After our crazy day Monday,before we left CHLA,Zoey and I stopped by the 4th floor to visit our friend who shares Zoey's birthday.A magical 11 year old,also fighting AML.As the doors of the elevator opened I was immediately met by not one family I have come to love,but two.From there it spiraled.One after another.Each family,each child trying to fight their way back to normal.All the while knowing this is their new normal.It is a doubled edged sword.On one hand I am so blessed to have these families in my life but on the other, there is that cold,hard reality of what has brought us together.As I was leaving the floor I realized that I have been changed and yes for the better.Because I have known these amazing children.Their parents.I have watched them face life's biggest and by far most unfair challenge and I have marveled in the grace and dignity and sheer unconditional acceptance by which they are doing it.I have been changed for the better and I thank the courageous little ones and their equally courageous parents for their part in that.I so wish you weren't.I so wish it was in my power to change this that has been dropped at our feet with no other option but to keep moving.And finally to Tish.My dear friend who first posted this line from "Wicked" :You amaze me and astound me with your strength.Your road with Thomas has been long and arduous but you continue to walk it with such beauty and unyielding faith.Your example has allowed me to walk my walk a little straighter and a whole lot stronger.Thank you ... have indeed changed me for the better.

A few more lines from "For Good"~

I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you


Sophie's Story by Elaine said...

I LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Wicked. Brandon and I lived on the East coast for a few years and saw a few Broadway shows. We saw Wicked in St. Louis and it is by far my favorite.

Anonymous said...

Zoey and the Needham family and all that incorporates ... have enriched my life for sure, and undoubtedly the lives of so many. Thank you. We all need more singing and dancing in our lives, xo Christi Harmn

About all of this said...

Beautiful spoken. äh...written.
I can see myself and I love the lyrics. Once again, a post from you that goes straight to the heart.

Tish Hearne said...


I'm sitting here in room 429A on 4 West, catching up on reading about your beautiful Zoey... and my heart says THANK YOU for your kind words.

What you have had to endure these past 2 years has been a remarkable inspiration to me. Photos of your amazing children holding onto their newest sibling (blessing #6!!) is a precious sight. It is evident that love can truly conquer all.

Please give your Zoey a squeeze from Thomas and me tonight... and let her know that she will forever be in our prayers.

We love you,
Tish, Thomas and family

Anonymous said...

Well said Heather...

And although I truly understand that the career move to LA was indeed a good one, we family members (and I'm sure friends) on the East Coast do miss "on hands" contact with our California loved ones. But, I am so thankful that you have started this blog because I personally feel I am closer to everyone even though it's thousands of miles that separate us. The miles and time disappear when I read your blog each day....Thank you Heather

Love and hugs to everyone

Aunt Bluebelle/Loraine

Michelle said...

My dear Heather...I can say with certainty that you have also changed me for the better. It has been a difficult week for so many of the same reasons. I have been keeping up with a blog on Gracie...a sweet heart little girl that got her wings this week and went home. She was ONLY 11 months. Such a blessing to be in this world, but almost a curse in the same moments. It's a hard world to be in, so see children leave their parents, to see children suffer in pain and anguish...and to see moms and dads feel exactly the same thing as they walk that walk with their cherished children. But these hard times bring longer do we worry about the lastest fads, the lastest toys, how to get more money, how to be wealthy...because we realize (even though the lesson itself is Hard, plain hard)that that's NOT what life is about, but the truly imporant things...the bonds we make, the moments with our children, the opportunity to help someone and build them up. It becomes a selfless world...a world that I am sure hurts our dear Father in Heaven to watch so many of His beloved children to be in, but so proud we are becoming better, we are realizing the true wealth in this world. Oh my most special friend...your world as hard as it has been has touched the lives of sooo many...blessed so many special to be a part of that...and Zoey was prepared for this journey...her smile, strength and resliency has shown that...I am truly blessed to have these moments with dear people...people I never would have known without my journey, my hard as they are, they are blessed and when it's all said and done...that mess we are looking up at sometimes, will all make sense and we'll be better for it! Enjoy your day my friend...feel the music, let it lift you and remind you that you have changed so many for the good...even ME!

Kele said...

Beautiful post H

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