Sam @CUSP Conference 2015

Monday, August 19, 2013

My summer with Shakespeare and without my grandma

This has probably been the most eventful summer of my life.

I have learned so much over the past couple of months -- what I really want and what really matters.

From my surgery to losing my grandmother to completing Relay for Life to pulling off the biggest and scariest artistic endeavor of my life, I am changed.

All of these events happened within a week or two of one another. I had my surgery -- two weeks after she came over to check on me after my procedure, my grandma passed away. A week after losing her, my volunteer group participated in Relay for Life. A week after completing that, rehearsals for "Othello" at Grand Circus Park began -- I found out I got this gig two days before losing my grandma. It's been a crazy roller coaster ride. The icing on the cake? My time in corporate America hasn't exactly been a piece of cake.

I have felt every emotion humanly possible over the past few weeks. And I feel stronger, more determined and at peace because I now know what I am made of. My grandma was a strong woman and I think I may have inherited some of her resilience.

Health and my hero 
I had a really simple, minor surgery a few weeks ago. But, I was scared to death! The thought of anesthesia really creeped me out!

I am writing this blog so obviously I survived.

A few hours after my surgery, my cousin pulled up to my house and guess who was in the passenger seat? My grandma. She had on a peach outfit and gold earrings that looked gorgeous on her yellow skin. Her long gray hair was pulled back and she looked absolutely beautiful.

I came outside to say hi and I gave her a kiss on the forehead. She asked me how I was feeling. Then yelled at me to go back to bed.

A week later she started declining. She wasn't sick. In fact, she was rarely ever sick. She was simply running out of gas. A week after that she was gone.

She never failed to be there for me and she stuck around until after my surgery, made sure I was okay and then simply fell asleep in death. Her timing, much like her wardrobe, was impeccable.

Lucille Hamilton always made me feel loved and special.

American Cancer Society's Relay for Life
Shakespeare Against Cancer (SAC) has been honored over the past year to  perform for kids facing all sorts of health challenges. We aim to be a respite for them and from the smiles on their faces when we perform our vignettes based on the author's work, it is working.

SAC wanted to spread it's wings a little bit this summer so we dipped our toes into fundraising for the American Cancer Society.

We were so excited when we exceeded our fundraising goal during the Ferndale (Mich.) Relay for Life event. This was all done, of course, in honor of the inspiration for SAC, my aunt Sherry Peterson.

On a personal note, it was also just really awesome meeting survivors, their families and participating in the fun games. It's a 24-hour love fest and I can't wait to do it again.

P.s. Shakespeare Against Cancer even won Rookie of the Year for 2013!

"Othello" at Grand Circus Park -- one for Detroit's history books 
Hundreds of people showed up last week to see a show that lived in my head and heart for years -- Shakespeare's "Othello." I had been planning to actually do the show since January or February of 2012 during my time at Tech Town. It felt like confirmation from the universe that if I work really hard, anything is possible. I am so grateful to everyone who helped make it a success from the cast and crew to the media and audience. All of these people helped make my dream come true and we made history as the first all local cast to do Shakespeare in the Park in downtown Detroit.

The free performance brought a diverse group of folks together. I met a family from Harrison Township, a father and daughter visiting from New York and dozens of other wonderful people who seemed very pleased to experience The Bard within the city's boundaries, under the stars and Detroit skyline. The energy last Wednesday night was so magical, it almost felt like an out of body experience. It's so surreal watching your dream come to life, literally. My grandma would have been really proud.

"Othello" also reminded me of the love and sense of community the arts make possible and I want to do it again and again and again. I felt loved, appreciated and so happy to share Shakespeare with my hometown.

The future
I have no idea what the future holds for me.

My grandma is gone. Relay for Life isn't until next summer and while I am planning it, we won't have our next Shakespeare in the Park experience again until the summer of 2014 -- although, I will tell you it is going to be bigger and better than ever.

The woman that I was prior to this summer may have been scared by the fact that my corporate career is so tentative. (Although, as a sidebar: "Othello" showed me I am a pretty darn good project manager and I really enjoy it). But, the woman sitting here writing this blog is excited that the immediate future is up in the air. That just means that the possibility of something wonderful is there and I love a good surprise.

Cheers to the future!



1 comment:

Hugh Duneghy II said...

Cheers to your future! My heartfelt thanks to you for allowing me to experience my dream through yours! It truly was an exceptional experience that I will never forget, absolutely magical and filled with LOVE!