Today Halley Gray will share her story as part of my new feature Spread the love. Halley is a freelance writer who creates a voice for small businesses online. She writes about living an adventure-packed, travel-soaked, friendship-filled life at Life of Something New. When she found out her mother had cancer, Halley started the project SOS: Send love, in which people from all over the world sent postcards to her mom. Without further ado, here is Halley’s story:
There’s something about unfinished dreams that makes me antsy. It doesn’t matter if they’re my dreams or your dreams or that stranger’s dreams. It makes me itch… in my soul, and behind my right ear. I am your friend who tells you that yes, it is perfectly acceptable to leave your job and go traveling, or that yes, you can go skydiving school instead of becoming a plumber. That’s what I believe and that’s what my mother encouraged in me.
So one Sunday when I was enjoying the good weather in Wellington, New Zealand (I had moved there because it’d been a dream), I got a call from my dad telling me that my mom had Stage IV cancer.
I do not enjoy crying. So it was not a relief to have a tsunami of tears drench my face for two hours after I got the news. The crying got me nowhere. The imagining all the future things my mom would not be there for did not help. It wasn’t till I shook my metaphorical shoulders and looked me stern in the eye and pointed out that ‘Mom is still alive and that is all that matters.’
My mom had always dreamt out loud about traveling the world and meeting my brother and me in different exotic locations.
I wondered if strangers would create 5 minute videos of their hometowns. I stared at my shiny, new + little blog with anguish, no one read it. How could I reach the loud talkers of the internet world with my quiet, whisper?
Careful consideration, made me toss the video idea out the window. It was asking too much. My mom has always adored postcards and snail mail. I remember her elegant hands writing beautiful ‘Thank you’ notes and her calligraphy gracing her postcards to me.
It took a few days to gather my courage up to finally put it out there. To ask for help. I worried if telling my mom would be preemptive and create disappointment if nobody heard our call for help. That sense of emergency and of a ship going under was why I called it ‘SOS: Send Love.’
I called mom and told her to look at my website, she was tired and needed cajoling. I told her I’d call back in ten minutes and see what she thought.
She was overjoyed. She was thrilled. She was grateful. She was excited.
I told her we’d see what happened. To sit and wait patiently.
I forgot to tell my dad that I was using his PO Box. It slipped my mind and it was with trepidation that I called him two days later and told him about the project.
He was excited. He was touched. He was holding postcards in his hands!
It took a couple of months for me to make my way back to my mom. I wanted her to meet my boyfriend of three years. I wanted to be there.
I stayed longer than I intended. What was supposed to be a three week visit turned into five months. In that time I took care of my mom at home, saw her decline in hospice and held her hand as she passed.
SOS: Send Love was my way of showing my mom how much I love her and how important her dreams were. It was how the world showed that it is kind and caring and how it valued her dreams.
Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful story with us Halley. If you don’t know her blog, I recommend you go visit it right now. Currently Halley is turning SOS:Send Love into a book, so keep an eye on that as well!
If you want to share your story, e-mail me at magicaldaydream [AT] hotmail [DOT] com!