在接下来的几个月中，我进入了生存模式。有医生的任命，化学疗法治疗，一段时间后，妈妈会屈服并抵抗两者，偶尔会踢牙。我正与母亲进行讨价还价的业务，正是她与我所做的一切，她的唯一女儿，我的一生 - 让我成为一个更好的女人。至少可以说，我们的角色扭转了，这令人不安。我不能说出多么不舒服（阅读：不可能！）是看到您认识的最坚强的女人放弃希望。但是，我知道鞋子是否已经踩在另一只脚上，而且她一直是一个照顾我的人，她永远不会让这种情况发生，而不是一百万年来。
Mom was living with me, and in order to be there for her as best I could, I quit my job at Arizona State University and started substitute teaching part-time. I needed more flexibility in my schedule to care for her properly. I was a divorced empty-nester. My boys were grown and out of the house. It was just mom and me. There were days when I would curl up on my couch, contemplating my life… all the while wondering if my ship had somehow sailed without me. I felt trapped and troubled, and because of that (and the fact I was raised Catholic) I felt guilty. This was my mother; caring for her was the least I could do.
On Valentine’s Day 2016, Mom was in a full-blown depression. She wasn’t eating. She wouldn’t come out of her room. At that point, I was catering to her every whim. That is to say, I was spoiling her rotten, treating her like a princess. I was running to the store for fudgesicles, bathing her, rubbing her down with lavender lotion at night, and doing my damnedest to give her hope. The chemotherapy was a light dose. She hadn’t lost her hair, but she was losing steam and fast. While I hate to admit it, I was losing patience. As I mentioned, it was Valentine’s Day. I was terminally single and nearly in tears. There was simply no chance for romance. The love of my life was dying of cancer, and there was nothing I could do about it.
In that moment, it occurred to me I was not acting like the woman my mother raised me to be. I was acting like a victim, succumbing to my own fears and worries and disappointments. So, I took a deep breath and stood to my feet. I marched into her bedroom and demanded she get dressed and meet me at the kitchen table. To be honest, I didn’t think she would, but she did. I then spilled a large pile of blank thank you cards onto my pub-style table—cute notes I had always intended on writing, but never did.
Over the next couple of hours, we wrote 50 thank yous to veterans and first responders. It opened up a conversation that led straight to my life’s purpose, and I haven’t looked back since. The next thing I knew, we were loaded up in my Jeep. For the next three hours, we drove around town looking for these individuals: veterans, firefighters, and police officers. When we’d find them, we’d pull over and leave the note on their car, or we’d stop them in their tracks and personally hand them the note.
One of the first interactions I had with a United States Army veteran convinced me we were on to something special. We had been handing out Love Notes for a few months. I was coming out of the grocery store when I saw a truck with veteran plates parked in front of the store. With my arms loaded down with groceries, I rifled through my purse and pulled out a Love Note. Not realizing the veteran, himself, and his pregnant wife were standing nearby, I placed the note beneath the windshield wiper of the truck and walked away. In a loud, angry, salty voice, I heard the veteran exclaim, ‘What in the hell did she leave on my truck?’
事实证明，这位退伍军人遭受了由伊拉克伏击带来的PTSD，即夜幕降临，头痛，信任问题，您可以命名。这个小爱的音符使他的一天（和他的生活）转过身来。他的名字叫JD，直到今天，他，他的妻子和他们的小儿子对我来说就像家人一样。他们俩都在感恩的力量上与我交谈。我无法告诉你，由于简单的手写爱情笔记，有多少人流泪了 - 几乎每次战争的海洋，警察，消防员和士兵。谁会想到如此简单的事情可能会对人们的生活产生如此深远的影响？
Me, being the hopeless romantic I am, disagreed wholeheartedly. As her only daughter, it was practically my job to put up an argument. ‘Oh, don’t you worry!’ I said confidently, even though I had no idea who or where he was. ‘There’s a man out there for me.’
‘I’m not worried,’ she whispered. ‘I know there is someone out there for you, someone who is going to take good care of you, and it won’t be who you expect.’
I was comforted by her confidence, because the truth was, I was scared. I was losing my mother, my voice of reason. My boys were grown and out of the nest. I would soon be alone in a house, and in a life, for that matter, that no longer fit. The truth was, I was terrified. But, I am nothing if not a woman of great faith, so I never let on that I wouldn’t be okay without her.
My mom passed away on October 11, 2017, just more than two years from the day she was diagnosed. She died on her own terms—gracefully, just as she had lived. Having been at her bedside, I no longer fear death. The thing I fear most of all is not living my best life, not doing as much as I can to add value to this life and to the people in it. So, I pushed the envelope—literally and figuratively. I continued handwriting Love Notes and hand-delivering them to our nation’s best and bravest, no matter how much my heart hurt. I encouraged others to jump on board. It was my goal to make it a movement. Suddenly, after 20,000+ Love Notes, respectively and collectively, I was well-connected in my community.
I was invited to ride along with local police and fire. I was invited to speak at schools and to role play for SWAT and police trainings. I was invited to fundraising events, high school football games, and welcomed into the arms of some of my greatest allies—police wives and first responders. I was even asked to fry chicken at a fire station for firefighters!
That was nerve-wrecking. The media caught wind of my movement, and the idea of Love Notes was catching fire. I had come a long way since that day I was feeling sorry for myself on the couch. I was giving and receiving in ways I never could have imagined. None of that would have happened if I had stayed stuck on that couch. My only wish was my mother could have seen how it all turned out, especially when the man I’d been praying for, the man she said did not exist, showed up.
He literally and, quite unassumingly, I might add, walked into my life wearing boots, a tee shirt, and blue jeans. I never even saw him coming. We met through a mutual friend. She brought him to one of my events—a high school football game where I had been named honorary team captain for First Responder Night. His name is Christopher. He’s a retired street cop. I gave him a Love Note that night, and a few months later we crossed paths again at another event.
We got to talking about a book he had written, tales from his 20+ years in law enforcement and a gunfight that took the life of a fellow officer and pretty much ended his career. Being a writer myself, I offered to help him get published. Somewhere in those pages (and in the time we spent together), we fell in love and moved to California to live out our days at the ocean’s edge. I am amazed at how neatly our purposes in life tie together and how happy we are to have found each other. Make no mistake, it wasn’t an accident. After everything that has come to pass because of a handwritten Love Note to a stranger, I no longer believe in accidents. Chris and I were destined to meet.
He looks at me like I’m magical. He calls me his unicorn, but he is mine. Mom said men like him didn’t exist, but he has proven her wrong—and that is hard to do. Chris is a good, strong, protective, and loving man. She would have definitely approved. As a matter of fact, being that she is my angel, I’m not convinced she didn’t have something to do with his presence in my life. I know, for a fact, a little Love Note had something to do with it.
之上,去年10月,因为所有的Love Notes written for our local law enforcement, I was invited to be a guest at the Police Officers’ Ball by a good cop and his gorgeous wife. This was my quintessential Cinderella moment, the pièce de résistance. It was a symbol my life’s purpose was, indeed, on point. And it was proof when you keep your chin up throughout life’s toughest times, and you focus on all that is good, dreams do come true. A life of gratitude is the greatest fairy godmother of all time!”
This story was submitted tobeplay网络一直不畅by Natalie June Reilly of Oceanside, CA. You can follow her journey onFacebookandInstagram。提交自己的故事here并确保subscribeto our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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