Today was tough.
My God Mother died today.
To put this in perspective, my God-mother and God-father (who died years before) basically took me in when my mother, my only parent, died. Although most would hear the stories of my childhood and think, “oh, how sad and painful…”. When I think of my childhood, I feel fortunate to have experienced such beauty of the human spirit many times over. I certainly have been blessed.
Mr. & Mrs. Martin.
They didn’t know my mother. We weren’t neighbors. They didn’t work near or in the same place as my mom, but, somehow, the Martins cared about me. A lot.
I was friends with their twin daughters in school. Jo-Ann and Mary. And how the friendship started still brings me to tears today… it was before my mother died – the third grade. I never had a decent lunch mostly because I was a latch key kid and we were poor. Don’t get me wrong, my mother did the best she could, but sometimes I went without. And Mary and Jo-Ann – well, they always had the best lunches. And they would share with me – half a sandwich here, a cookie or chips there. Eventually they’d just bring me a whole separate lunch. I’ll never forget that.
You hear about kids who bully other kids all the time nowadays. And I always listen and think how…it just never happened to me. You hear these horrible stories of children hating other children for being different. And I was certainly different. But these girls, they didn’t care. If anything they went out of their way to protect me. To call me “sister”, to call me friend. Let me just say, they were (and are) spectacular kids and along with their older sister Patty-Ann, are the best people I’ve ever known. In. My. Life.
The apples truly don’t fall far from the tree.
And when my mother died and I was lost in the system and left, at points, to my own devices – it was Mr. and Mrs. Martin who stepped in and did their part to walk me through this thing called life…. Even when I made mistakes – and goodness knows I made many — they loved me anyways. I was part of the family. I was loved.
When I was in high school, I asked Mr. & Mrs. Martin to be my Godparents. None of us are crazy religious, but I wanted so badly to fulfill something my mother never had the chance to do. And I wanted to honor the Martins. And when I asked, there was no hesitation at all. Not a question. Of course, they’d be my God-Parents.
What most people don’t know – is that they went farther in their support of me. Don’t get me wrong, everything they did was beautiful and enormous enough. Goodness knows they went out of their way to make me feel part of the family. But when I wanted to go to college and didn’t have the money to do it and all my scholarships and funding was depleted, it was the Martins, who co-signed loans for me to continue on and get my degree. I don’t know why that hit me today like a ton of bricks – but it mattered. Maybe because we all talk a good game about wanting to help someone less fortunate, but at the end of the day, would we really co-sign a loan for a non-family member who may or may not succeed? Would we really invest and be responsible for such a quantity of money for a non-blood-related relative? Most of us wouldn’t do it… but they loved me and believed in me so much.. when I asked for help, again, it wasn’t a problem. No hesitation. They signed and I finished college and got my bachelors. Ain’t that something quite beautiful?
I’m heart-broken today. And I can’t stop crying. My face is stained with tears.
But intermittently I’m crying tears of joy. How lucky I’ve been to have been loved by such wonderful people.
And here’s the thing. The best part of the story: the Martins, these beautiful people, helped so many. I’m just one person whose life they changed and made better. There are so many people whose lives transformed because the Martins went out of their way to help. And they did it just as powerfully, and just as beautifully, as they changed mine.
I’m not sure I ever expressed enough how much I appreciated what they did for me. I hope I can be one tenth of the person they were in helping the world be a better place – by loving, by caring, by touching even just one person’s life. What an amazing presence on the planet they were…
I love you so much Mrs. Martin. I love you both. Thank you for everything. And enjoy the dance…