A Special Piece of Jewelry to Honor a Special Lady

It sounds so cheesy to say this, but an athleisure brand inspired what became my family’s mantra through 20 hellish months of my mom’s battle with ovarian cancer.

I went to a press breakfast in 2013 with Lorna Jane. At the time, I was unemployed, had no idea what I wanted to do for my next job, didn’t think I’d find a next job. Something about her journey and refusal to accept no for an answer really inspired me, and I adopted Never Give Up as my own mantra. (The story of why LJ adopted it.)

I realized that writing about fitness and health was what lit my fire, and I honed in my job search on looking for companies in that realm. About a month later, I accepted a job offer from Daily Burn, where I’ve now worked for nearly 4 years. I will never be able to say enough about how well they have treated me, especially through this hell. Sending out Ubers from the city to NJ for the services, moving around major meetings. I am a lucky lucky woman to work for such a great company.

Erica Sara, at the time, was creating a mantra line and asked if she could get a quote from me and make me a bracelet. OK FINE GIVE ME PRETTY JEWELRY SURE.

Erica Sara Preppy Runner Never Give Up

I wore that bracelet every single day until my mom got sick, and then I gave it to her, as a good luck charm, of sorts.

We got our luck, and she went into remission on July 8, 2016. I took back my pretty bracelet.

We returned to a hell we’ll never fully recover from on November 22, 2016, when her doctor told us the cancer had returned. I gave her back the bracelet. “You need it more than me, Mom.”

And for Christmas, I bought my mom a Never Give Up bracelet from Erica. It was also a tradition of my mom’s to order me something from Erica every year, so I did that for her.

My mom left this earth on July 8, 2017, the worst day of my life. Exactly a month ago from today; exactly a year after she’d been declared in remission. As my father and I made the funeral arrangements, in some crazy fog, I found her necklace, still in the little jewelry pouch. I couldn’t imagine wearing this necklace she’d never worn, so I put it in her casket with her, to be with her forever and ever, as she will be with me.

Erica left such a sweet message on my Facebook, remembering their yearly conversation, when I announced my heartbreaking news there. The day I returned to the city from the funeral, all I wanted to do was DO DO DO. I’m a New Yorker; getting things done is what I do. I talked with Lacey about setting up the Uplift class. I emailed the OCRFA to see how I can partner with them. I signed up for the Teal Run.

And I emailed Erica, asking if she had any interest in creating a bracelet or necklace, with proceeds going to ovarian cancer research. I was flooded with emotion when she agreed to do so, and I’m so proud to announce that they are available for order now from her site. There is nothing in the world I can do to bring my mom back (is there? I’d do it), but I can do everything I can to honor her and raise whatever awareness I can so that maybe one day, women won’t have to go through what she did.

Never Give Up Ovarian Cancer Research Erica Sara Preppy Runner

You can order the necklace here.

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And the bracelet here.

It should go without saying, but I obviously get no cut from this.

I’m glad I still have other people to believe in my crazy ideas, even if it’s not the woman who means more to me than anything in the world.

Buoyed by Love

Life is hard and confusing right now, but it’s also so so beautiful and has shown me in a million ways how blessed I am.

Blessed to have had 34.5 wonderful years with her

Blessed that she and my father did everything they could to spare me, their only daughter, from any pain they could — both growing up, and even these last few difficult months as they attempted to shield me as best they could from seeing her suffer too much.

Blessed to be surrounded by SO MUCH LOVE, while she was sick, and since she passed. From the friend who picked me up from Penn Station after I found out and drove me out to NJ to the best friend who stayed over in between the wake and the funeral and slept in my bed with me, just stroking my hair and hugging me as I cried myself to sleep to the friends who had wine in the car for me to run out for a swig in the middle of the wake when things got really overwhelming to the friends who cleaned our downstairs of our house while my dad and I attended to funeral arrangements. To everyone else who was there in just as meaningful ways.

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while, you know Uplift is my favorite workout studio in all of NYC, and I’m lucky to count Leanne, their founder, as a friend. OK, yes, they love their wine as much as I do, but they also focus on being an inclusive, empowering space for women, beyond just working out. They have panels on everything from mental health to activism to finances to career.

After my mom passed, Leanne asked Lacey, also a longtime client, what they could do for me, and they hatched the idea of a charity class in honor of my mom, with proceeds going to ovarian cancer research.

They offered up a few Tuesday evenings, and I picked August 1 as the date, since I’d hosted a fundraiser there exactly two years ago today.

Uplift Preppy Runner

As you can see, my mama was there, and it meant the world to me that she was, to meet my friends, to support me in my endeavors, even if she didn’t understand them (Junior League and marathoning) and just to hang out with me. 

I woke up yesterday SO EXCITED for the workout, forgetting, for a moment, why we were doing it, and I carried that with me through the day…until I found that picture and it hit me hard that we were doing this workout in memory of my mom. Memory, as in, she’s not here. WHAT? (I have these sorts of realizations probably hourly, thinking of things we’d done, things I want(ed) to do with her…and realizing it’s all changed.)

Thankfully I had therapy just before the workout, and even though, honestly, my therapist doesn’t have a ton of wise words of advice right now, the space to be able to talk about these things (and work them out myself as I’m talking) is still absolutely invaluable, and I got out multiple ugly cries, leaving the room to enjoy the event.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that two of my very best friends in the world, Meg and Lacey, were the first to arrive at Uplift. All I needed was big hugs from some of the friends I love the most. 

It felt like my birthday or something as the door to the studio kept opening, and friends continued to pour in.

We’d requested Sculpt as the class format, as it’s my favorite. Kat, the instructor, asked me if I had any playlist requests. HELL YES! I requested what I called “musical gifts” for both Meg and Lacey. Downtown by Macklemore for Meg, Bartender by T-Pain for Lace.

I giggled, danced and rapped my way through the class, getting a whole extra ab workout and SO SO overwhelmed by gratitude for being surrounded by such amazing people in my life at the hardest time of my life. 

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So much love.

And afterwards, I thought the least I could do to start repaying the awesomeness debt was to have these lovely ladies over to my roof for some hugs, libations and sunset watching.

 

And really, if you have a best friend to saber a magnum of prosecco, what else do you really need in life?!