No, that’s not a typo in the header up above; it was fully my intent to butcher one of Shakespeare’s most famous lines. You see, last week I received another incredible surprise. I really thought that my friends had managed to squeak out as many of my tears as they could muster, but boy was I wrong!
The day before what was to become my postponed second round of chemotherapy, my beautiful, intelligent and creative friend Tori sent me a text message informing me to check my email at noon the next day for a surprise. Of course I wanted to know immediately what kind of mischief she’d been up to that would require a time sensitive check-in of the old inbox, but she wasn’t about to let this one slip. So, I waited impatiently like a kid on Christmas Eve for the next day to roll in. Fortunately (or unfortunately depending on how you look at it), I am no longer a kid, and time ticks by all too quickly these days, so I really didn’t have to wait too long at all.
When I think back on my friendship with Tori and the period during which we lived together as university roommates, it seems that there was always music playing. We were either dancing away to Louis Prima in the kitchen or belting our lungs out to the Practical Magic soundtrack in my talking car. So, when I curiously checked my email around noon the next day, after she had mentioned I make some room on my iPod, I quickly figured out that she had made me a music mix. However, I was soon to find out that this was not just any old music mix. After downloading the mix to my laptop, I hit the play button and was instantly taken back a good 15 years or so. Coming at me from those tiny speakers was the take-no-prisoners, raucous voice of my close friend Steph, and before I knew it, the tears started to flow. Tori had somehow coordinated my friends and family to call her and leave me a message along with their personal song request for me. She then mashed all of the messages and songs together in one outstanding mix. I was completely floored! As soon as the tears had dried from one song, I’d hear another powerful, loving voice and the waterworks were back in full force. All in all, I was crying for a good half hour.
With every gift, every message and every visit I receive, I feel more and more blessed. Despite all of its faults, cancer has done this one thing for me. It has shown me just how loved a person can be, and just how much love you can give back in response.
Whether scripted or not, hiccups and glitches included, the words spoken by these beautiful people mean more to me than they will ever be able to imagine. They give me strength and hope and a tremendously growing belief in myself every day. This mix has rekindled my love of music and it just plain makes me happy! I wish that everyone who has to face this blasted challenge could have the loving support that I have, but I know that this is not the case. So, with their permission, I’ve decided to share my mix and some of the messages that were included, just on the off chance that it might help someone else fighting the cancer fight out there. Enjoy!
Beat It – Michael Jackson
“If there has ever been a time to strap on your boots, put on your game face and show up to play, it’s now… As always, you have your team with you, and I want 100%! And when you’re down, we’ll pick you back up and kick the a$$ out of whatever knocked you down!… Take care you, and I’m always here if you need me.”
40 Dogs – Bob Schneider
“…I was trying to decide on an old rugby song from back in the day, but the ones I kept thinking of that reminded me of you didn’t really work; because, My Heart Will Go On is really depressing… and One Headlight kind of sounds like a boob joke. So, while I was trying to think of a good song, one of my favorite ones from right now came on… and I know it’s supposed to be a romantic boy girl kind of song, but when I was listening to the words it actually just reminded me of all of us, all of us girls. There’s a part in it about sticking up for each other and then there’s another part about crazy nights and things like that. I hope you like it. I miss you, I hope you’re doing okay… love you lots… ”
Summertime – Angelique Kidjo
“… you are like a sister to me and I love you dearly and think about you all the time and all the things that you have inspired me to do in my life and because you don’t often meet someone so talented and driven and capable of doing so many things. So, you are one of my main teachers in life and I’m so thankful for that…we love you and you are in our hearts and we are going to fight alongside you…”
“… I wanted you to know that not only are you so loving and so beautiful, but you are so wise too. And when you said ‘I have given them my attention and now they mean nothing to me’… oh, so deep. Thank you… that is my personal mantra… ”
No Diggity – Blackstreet
“Just letting you know that we’re all thinking of you. Remember, you’re not alone in this one. You’ve got a mighty good group of girls behind you, so stay strong, go hard, we’ve got your back. Look left, look right, we’re there with you. Take care, and keep your head up. If you can’t keep your head up, we’ll lift it up for you damnit!… ”
Stand – REM
“I’m just sending you all my love and best wishes… You might remember ages ago, back in high school, you gave me an REM album which I still listen to surprisingly often, so I’m going to request for you Stand, which is one of those songs that for some reason I never grow tired of listening to. So, enjoy and I’m sending you all the best. Love you.”
With A Little Help From My Friends – Joe Cocker
You Sexy Thing – Hot Chocolate
“… I just wanted to let you know again what an amazing person you are and how inspiring you are to me. I think you have an amazing attitude and just keep taking this one day at a time and keep kicking ass! So, the song that I picked out for you is just something to keep it fun. I picked it because I do believe in miracles and I want to remind you that no matter what curve balls get thrown your way, you are, and will continue to be one sexy thing.”
Video – India Arie
“I just wanted to let you know that you’re such an amazing person. When I first met you, you terrified me, and that is rare. I think that is just a reflection actually of what a cool person you are. In addition to that, you’re one of the strongest and most inspiring people I have ever met in my entire life and I just want you to know that I look up to you and if I could be a tenth as amazing as you are I would be the happiest person in the world. In fact, I’m already the happiest person in the world knowing you. I love you, huge hugs, and every time I see you it makes me smile. Love you, bye!”
Ice Cream – Sarah McLachlan
“… I’ve just been thinking about you a lot, and I have been up in the mountains again, soloing peaks in Rogers Pass and trying to send good wishes your way. You’ve been on my mind since I’ve been up in the high peaks all summer long. I just want to send you as much love and positive energy as I can. Love you like a little sister”
Closer to Fine – Indigo Girls
“Hi Zurianna, it’s Torianna; and yes, we all do love you like ice cream. I’m sure that you also know what song I’m going to be pluggin’ in right after this. When I think about it, it’s you and me, in a car, and we are driving down the hill and there is an incredible blue sky in front of us, and the whole world at our feet, and before us… This song is playing very loudly and we are both singing along and beaming. Beaming, beaming, beaming! Because we are so excited about all of the things that are about to happen. And lots has happened, as you know, good things and bad things and more good things and sad things and challenges; and you’re in one of those times now and I know though that you will be fine. That you will be more than fine… I want you to feel that sense of hope and optimism and like everything is possible and the world is still at your feet. Love you.”
Taleen, Stefan & Christy
Tubthumping (I Get Knocked Down) – Chumbawamba
(Christy) “More than anybody else I know, every time you get knocked down, you get back up. You were always the one on the field who impressed me by makin’ the hard hits, gettin’ up and carryin’ on. You were always an inspiration for all of us. Wishing you the best – I know you’re gonna rock it.”
(Taleen & Stefan) “We send you lots and lots and lots of love, and we’re amazed by your strength. Wish you all the best Zuri, and I know, I know that this is going to be taken care of for you and you will take care of anything that’s left over. You are a motivation on this one and I owe you big for the things that you’ve done for me and I hope I can do the same for you. Love you.”
Saturday – De La Soul
Here are a few other song requests that didn’t make it onto the mix:
Don’t Blink – Kenny Chesney
Sitting on the Dock of the Bay – Otis Redding
Fat Bottomed Girls – Queen
I Am Not My Hair – India Arie ft. Akon
Just Stand Up! – Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, Mary J. Blige, Rihanna, Fergie, Natasha Bedingfield, Miley Cyrus, Leona Lewis, Carrie Underwood, Keyshia Cole, Ashanti, Ciara, and Nicole Scherzinger