You’ve been through a few hard years with me, and I’m grateful for every single day you’ve encouraged me to keep going. I’m thankful for all of the emails I’ve received sharing your stories with me, telling me you understand or encouraging me to keep fighting.
It was six years ago February that Eric first got sick and you were there with me. You watched my videos and sent emails to comfort me and give me hope. Then because of you, the Comfort Quilt happened and kept happening until we gave it to him for Christmas in 2011. You got us 100’s of signatures for no other reason than you were nice to us, and the truth is I couldn’t believe people could be so generous. You celebrated Eric’s birthday with us on January 17th and mourned his death four days later on January 21, 2012. You all kept writing and watching and encouraging me to move forward.
You watched Eric’s “Words Hurt” video that he made for the kids before he died. “Be nice to people, and more will come back to you in the form of niceness.” You cried with me once again and told me to continue to be brave.
It was this video that started Gift it Forward’s mission to try to force people to be nicer to one another. If you remember we sold handmade bracelets in pairs (and yes WE handmade them); buy one and get the other free to give away on purpose just to be nice.
Eric wished he’d been better, nicer, more patient. If only he were here, I would tell him that the bravery and the wisdom he showed at the end of his life prove that he couldn’t have been better as a person. If only I could tell him his words are a legacy that will change the future for not only our children but for everyone.
More than 15 months ago, Gift it Forward, Inc. went from a for-profit to a nonprofit and now the company is known as #BeingNiceMatters and the new mission to fight and win the war against hate.
I’ve never struggled more than I have over these last endless 15 months. I’ve struggled with my unwillingness to be vulnerable and my unworthiness of representing #BeingNiceMatters. What if I screw this whole thing up and I ruin Eric’s legacy? I am aware how very far I am from perfect; as a matter of fact, some say nice is not an adjective they’d use in describing me, “You’re more of a pit bull.” I curse, ask the questions I want the answers to, I want to know why you are who you are, and I don’t let go of an idea if I think I’m right, (unless you can change my mind which does happen).
This past February, my boyfriend Michael surprised me with tickets to go on a cruise called SATS or Sail Across The Sun. SATS is a music festival on the sea, and the main act is Train who I’ve followed for about 20 years. Michael did this for me on purpose for no other reason than to see me smile and make me happy.
I was scared to go. Scared to be away from my children, scared that something might happen while we were gone. Michael promised it would be ok, and he was right. For those few days at sea, I wasn’t afraid.
Without going into the million details of how and why Michael and I offered to host a concert at our home for the SATS family, we offered, well I offered, and it was going to happen.
Again, without going in the minutia, I had no idea how involved it would be to turn my home into a concert venue, and I quickly realized there was no way I could either afford or accommodate a show for 50 people or more. Oh, and the performers that needed to appear at the concert had to be real artists that are great and guess what I’m not? That’s right, a concert promoter.
So there’s my head, and there’s the water rushing over it.
Then it happened, I made a decision. I decided to combine the MIDYEAR MASHUP with the launch of #BeingNiceMatters and call the event “Music Unites Us” Charity Concert. I’ll fund it and hope that I can bring enough great talent to get people to come and hopefully it will be successful and hopefully I can stand up in front of 300 people and tell them why we’re all there without losing it.
Then there’s this, my birthday is May 30th, and I was thinking, what if I combined my birthday with the MASHUP with the #BeingNiceMatters charity concert? It was your voices that I heard in my head and answered my question. GO FOR IT. YOU CAN DO IT. So, that’s what I’m doing.
I’m hosting a birthday, launch, mashup concert event party on May 26th in Jupiter, FL
In the real spirit of what #BeingNiceMatters is meant to do, bridge the divide between people, I am doing what I’m intended to be doing. I am bringing people together who never would have met or spoken to one another in one place at the same time to celebrate being. You all may have everything or nothing in common, but I know for sure you all have one thing and that’s empathy and compassion. How do I know? I’ve been the recipient of it for years, and now it’s my turn to give back to you.
It would be great if you would come and share everything we’ve accomplished together. I realize it’s 1/3 a birthday party but in place of gifts 🎁, buying a ticket to the concert is the most amazing gift. (Oh and the venue agreed that with every ticket you get happy hour pricing for food and drinks all night long :-). Here’s the link to the tickets #BeingNiceMatters Music Unites Us Charity Concert .
Let’s have a drink, a bite to eat, listen to great music, talk to a stranger just to be nice, let’s celebrate a new chapter.
Thank you so very much, I’m grateful.