Giving Thanks

Hello you magical, glorious, unparalleled loves of mine,

I’ve been trying to write this post for a week. I sit down and no words come out because no words seem adequate enough. But if I don’t write this out, I may quite literally explode, so forgive me if I stumble.

Not quite two weeks ago, I posted a blog updating on how life was going. It was a hard post to write, letting myself and our family be vulnerable in the digital age by letting others in on a deeply personal struggle. I posted that entry because it’d been a tough few weeks, and at that moment, a particularly tough few days.

I needed an outlet to purge some of the thoughts I was having. I needed to share what our lives were like because I didn’t want to feel alone. Once I hit “Publish” it was this weight off my shoulders. Like, the reality of life was still happening, but it wasn’t a silent struggle I was carrying away from everyone I know.

It never stops astounding me that people read this blog. It never stops confusing me that anyone would ever be interested in what I have to say.

Within minutes of publishing, friends and readers were calling to start GoFundMe’s for our family. As notifications buzzed on my phone, my eyes got wider and wider, and my jaw got lower and lower. I looked like a mix between a very alarmed fish and Arnold Schwarzenegger at the end of Total Recall by the end of the night.

Less than an hour later, two incredible women, Jessa Russo and Tamara Mataya, had set up an online auction to benefit our family, and another glorious gal, Alina Klein, had set up a GoFundMe.

People started messaging me, sharing stories of their own suicidal battles, their own brushes with potentially losing everything when someone is unable to work, telling tales of the Christmases they’d lived through with nothing as kids.

These messages were everything to me. I cried for the pain people had felt, and I cried for the comfort of not feeling isolated in a hellish situation.

People were donating auction items left and right. The GoFundMe was going up and up and up.

I was so overwhelmed, but in the best possible way. I’d never experienced anything like it.

I’m used to being the one who helps, not the one that is helped. I tend to be stubborn as all hell and think I can totally figure it all out and save the day somehow. I’ve donated more times than I can count to people in terrible situations, and it never occurred to me that we’d hit that terrible situation where we would need help.

I mean, I may have definitely looked up how much I could get for a kidney or some eggs I’m not using, so maybe that should have sunk in a little sooner.

There was a guilt that set in. I don’t deserve this. I don’t deserve an outpouring of this caliber. I’ve done nothing to earn this level of consideration. I’m not a good enough friend to deserve any of you.

I was stunned. I would ask people, “Do they think I’m someone else? Are they sure they know who they are donating for?”

I mean, I write on my goofy little blog, and I tell dick jokes and relay all accidental public nudity on Twitter. That’s it. That’s all I do.

In the grand scheme of things, I’m no one special.

And people tried to convince me otherwise. But I’m still sitting here, completely stunned, occasionally whispering without even realizing I’m speaking, “I don’t deserve this.”

But I am grateful. I am so unspeakably grateful to everyone for all they have done and donated and given.

The day the first GoFundMe payment hit our bank, we were down to our last $1o. Our phone bill was due that day. I had a doctor’s appointment with a $50 copay that I was already practicing my begging to bill us so I could still see the doc. I wasn’t sure how I was going to buy groceries that day to make dinner that night. The tires on my car had started leaking air due to something called “dry cracking” and two different body shops said we were going to lose a tire at any moment and to not leave our town.

Every time I had to drive on the interstate to get to doctor’s appointments, I was white-knuckled and knew, like, I knew this would be the time I lost a tire and I just hoped I didn’t take anyone out with me.

And then my email binged and notified us we had actual money in our bank.

I spent that afternoon calling all the places we had bills due, or about to be due, and I paid them. I GOT TO PAY THEM.

One woman on the phone asked how much we’d like to pay on our bill and I said, “All of it.” She asked me three times if she’d heard me right. Paying a medical bill in full isn’t something she was used to hearing.

And when my oral surgeon informed me my insurance wasn’t going to cover any of my surgery tomorrow and did I need to cancel my appointment, I got to say, “Nope. I’ve got it covered.” The billing lady told me no one ever said that. Most people have to cancel because they can’t pay that large an amount up front.

And I got to do those things because of all of you.

I’m getting surgery tomorrow to stop incredible, unyielding daily pain because of you.

My husband gets to continue his outpatient care until he’s better, not until he’s forced to go back to work to keep us from losing our home, all because of you.

I don’t have to worry about feeding my children. Because of you.

There will be presents under our ratty old Christmas tree this year, and that’s because of you.

I’ve been able to get prescriptions without having to cut pills in half to make them last longer. Because of you.

The hubs has good days and bad days, but he knows that we are financially stable at the moment and can focus on getting better, not worrying about how I’m balancing keeping our electricity on, all because of you.

There are no words to explain our gratitude. Literally no words. We have reached a level of thankful and grateful that as of yet, has no way to define or explain. It’s like discovering a brand new color and having no way to describe it.

You folks are our new color. Vivid and bright and sparkling and magical and glorious and even still, I don’t do you justice.

Thank you. Thank you to all of you. Thank you forever and always and upside down and inside out and in every way you could ever possibly be thanked, we thank you.

Thank you to those who donated their time. Thank you to those who donated their skills. Thank you to those who donated money.

Thank you to those of you who donated $5 because it’s all you had to give, but wanted to give something.

I’ve been that person who wanted to help someone in need and all I could spare was five bucks. I cried every single time one of those donations came in.

Thank you to everyone to shared and RT’d and posted over and over again to encourage others to join in.

Thank you to to each and every one of you who Tweeted on the #FriendsOfFizzy tag. I never stop tearing up seeing that a tag like that even exists, let alone how many people use it.

Thank you to every single person who reached out to me. Truly, genuinely thank you. Those stories and check ins were sometimes the only thing that gave me hope on bad days.

Thank you to everyone who reminded me to take a breath sometimes because I definitely forget to do that.

Thank you to everyone who looked up the Amazon wishlists of our kids and sent them gifts for Christmas and our daughter’s birthday.

Thank you for the care packages sent full of hilarious and thoughtful and amazing things that brightened our days.

Thank you for every single tear I’ve shed over the last two weeks. Because quite frankly, it’s been a hell of a treat to cry perpetually happy and hopeful and awed tears.

I will never be able to repay this kindness to you all. There aren’t enough thank you notes in the world. (Although, my mother disagrees and insists if I really try, I can track down addresses for all the anonymous donors.)

In this week of Thanksgiving, I have never been more aware of what truly giving thanks means. I have never been more thankful in my life, and I’m pretty sure I’ve reached peak SQUEE for humanity as a whole.

That weird sensation you feel is me mentally hugging the shiz out of you.

I love you peeps. I love you. I will never be worthy of what you’ve done, but please know that I am always here for you. Always. If you need to talk or need help or need eyes on some words you’ve written or just an ill-timed, awkward joke about boobies, I am here for you. Please never hesitate to take me up on this.

I love you, my beautiful new color. And I will be forever grateful for every single shade of you.

Until next time,

Peace, Love, and Gratiful. (Gratitude and grateful. I couldn’t find words so I made a new one. I’m a super cool person.)

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