Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Reisterstown, Maryland
While still at home, I was trying to piece together how this all came about. I knew my friend in California, Pablo's mommy, who had helped arrange for Natasha to call Sicily prior to her death, was trying once again to see if she could make something happen. In addition to her efforts, my sister-in-law, Bett, had emailed the producer, Kathy, of B98's morning show, about Sicily's beloved song. I give credit to Sicily for seeing these efforts. I envision her upstairs tugging on God's majestic robe and asking Him for a gift for her family. It's undeniable to me. God used water, something Sicily lived for and died with, as a means to make this precious gift possible for us. Water was one of Sicily's favorite things in life. She loved to be near it, by it, in it, drink it...in fact, the last words we ever heard our little girl speak to us minutes before she died was, “Can I have a drink of water?” I will spend the rest of my life seeking ways to be near water in as many ways as possible to feel a stronger sense of closeness to her. So, to see the connection in the water main break in Broken Arrow to the ability of her siblings to be able to attend this concert, and meet sweet Natasha, was the doing of God and His little “pot stir-er,” Sicily! She's able to stir the pot in a positive way, as well!
Somehow the kids and I managed to pack our bags and hit the road around noon. I was feeling a high level of anxiety with time of the essence. We needed to be at certain places at certain times and the weather was looking as if it might want to play games with us. Both the need for speed and the mischievous weather threat were ingredients for a recipe of nervousness! Driving out of Tulsa and towards Kansas poses a higher level of driving skills these days due to road construction. Uugh! I know it's needed, but Uuugh!!! Usually when we are headed out of town this direction, I am a passenger and I pay little attention to detours and road closings. I began to wish I'd done a better job of being aware of my surroundings on previous road trips when on this one I missed a vital detour turn and started driving in the opposite direction than what we needed to be going! This was one of those days I should not have been behind the wheel. I had both hands tightly grasping the steering wheel and both eyes focused straight ahead, but my mind was swerving and wandering all over the place! Thankfully, Corinthian was there to help me stay focused!
I explained to Corinthian, as I needed him to be my co-pilot, that we needed to get off on the next exit and attempt to get back on this road going the opposite direction. We needed to see if we could find the turn we missed somewhere around all the orange road construction signs. Luckily for us, an exit was fast approaching so I took it. I could see ahead of me was a stop sign and that I would have the ability to go back under the overpass and get right back on the road we'd just departed. Also, clearly in my vision up ahead, was a homeless man standing right by the corner with a cardboard sign clutched in his hands that read, “Veteran, Anything would help!” Just before we had left the house, I had grabbed five loose one dollar bills that were laying on the counter and proceeded to lay them on the console of our vehicle just in case we might need them for something. I had adequate cash in my purse if we were caught in a bind, so this was just something of a fluke that I happened to grab this money. Before our vehicle came to a stop at the stop sign, God had already put the idea into my head that I needed to give this man that five dollars. Through the generosity of others, our next three meals were being taken care of. I prefer not to hand over cash in situations like this and would rather have handed the person in need a sack of food, but it was a quick judgment call and one I did not feel I had the power to ignore. In lightening fast speed, I rolled down my window and as quickly as it went down I had it going back up again after handing the fellow the money, but not before I heard him say, “God Bless You!” I drove off feeling blessed! “I” felt God's blessing. I was the one who was on the receiving end of the blessing in this situation! I have felt blessed for so long and continue to feel it stronger and stronger with each day of my life that He allows me to grow closer to Him! I explained to the kids that the apparent reason I missed our original turn was so we could help someone who was in need since we have been helped so much ourselves by others. I felt it was one of those moments that God gives me to prove His love to me and my children. Needless to say, we quickly found our correct exit and made it to our next destination with plenty of time to spare. See, God takes care of those who take care of others!
To think of the events that took place over a thirty-six hour time span, I still find myself shaking my head in disbelief that they really occurred. I am not a “star struck” type of person. I firmly believe that we are all special and unique in many different ways. In fact, I have a little plaque in our home office that reads, “Always remember...you're unique, just like everyone else.” Some people's uniqueness and special talents bring them fame, while others blend into the crowds and they melt into the masses. But I think we are all special! I did not feel nervous or scared or overwhelmed getting to meet Natasha Bedingfield, although I did have numerous butterflies taking flight due to the excitement and honor that I bestowed upon this opportunity! Her beautiful song writing skills and incredible vocal delivery made a huge impact on our lives, especially that of one sweet little girl! It made me so happy just to have the chance to be able to tell her this in person.
Once at the concert, we were given an orange colored bracelet, along with a few hundred other people, to signify that we could participate in a “meet and greet” with one of the evenings performers. We stood in line for quite sometime and began to wonder how this was going to happen. How were we going to get to meet Natasha? Just then I recognized the radio station producer, Kathy, from pictures I had seen of her on their website. I called to her and introduced myself and next thing we knew, we were pulled aside and brought up to the front, a little distance from the long line we had found ourselves waiting in. We were told that Natasha was aware that we, Sicily's family, were there and we were given permission to take photos, as we were originally told as we previously stood in line that we could not. I soon saw Natasha being ushered into a black tent area and they eventually lead us in, too. She was very sweet and we shook hands. I had grasped in my other hand the feathered wings I take with us on important trips to be photographed as a representation of Sicily. Natasha began to ask about the wings and I explained how they came about and their meaning. It was then she truly realized who we were, as I guess I just assumed she knew Sicily's family would be meeting with her first. She exclaimed, “Oh, you're Sicily's family,” and she hugged me tightly. She proceeded to hug Corinthian, who was smiling from ear to ear, then Elias and Isabella. I introduced Bett and Val as Sicily's aunts. I gave her a little sack I had hastily put together as we were leaving home that contained a Wilm's Warriors t-shirt that has “Pocketful of Sicily” on the back with “Our Shining Strength” below it. I put in a few smiling pictures of Sicily, as well, and I cried when I gave it to her. She seemed to really like the t-shirt as I showed her what it looked like as Elias was wearing one. She had someone take a picture of it. I am not a jeans and t-shirt type of girl, but Sicily was, so we all wore jeans and Sicily t-shirts to the concert. As all of this is going on, a video camera was recording it and it can now be found on Youtube. Corinthian found it under Zeka Family meets Natasha Bedingfield.
I proceeded to ask Natasha what her inspiration for the song, “Pocketful of Sunshine” was and she explained that she was just going through a really tough time in her life, hence the “Sticks and stones are never going to break me...” We can all relate to that some time or another, but equating it to Sicily's journey with cancer, I guess that could explain why it had such an impact on those of us around her all the time. Natasha said her new CD will be released in November and promised to send me a copy, as it has more songs like “Pocketful,” on it. I'd have been first to order it, anyway!
I prayed that the feeling I felt inside would find a way to stay with me for as long as possible and find me again on days ahead when the blues manage to creep in. I have to believe it will. Listening to Natasha sing “the song” that beautiful night was nothing short of amazing! She sang a softer, more acoustic arrangement. I stood with Sicily's wings clutched against my chest, feeling her presence all around me. I think this made Sicily even happier...she had done good!
We returned to our hotel room before 11:30pm with perma grins stamped on our faces. Before we left the concert, Elias asked if we would ever have to wash his Wilm's Warrior t-shirt? I asked, “Why, because Natasha touched it?” With a dreamy look in his eyes he nodded his head, yes!
I was saddened that Patrick wasn't able to be there with us to experience what we experienced, but we had the next best thing by having two of his sister's, aunt Bett and aunt Valerie, with us. They had enjoyed some of the best times of Sicily's life, but also endured some of the worst, as well, during scary and heartbreaking moments on her cancer journey. Aunt Mary Ann and cousin Megan also attended the concert with us, but we could only take a couple of extra people back with us for the meet and greet, so they graciously saved our seats for us.
Since the kids had to be absent from school on Friday after the water issue in Broken Arrow had been remedied, Kathy, from B98, met us for lunch at what is now one of my kid's favorite eating establishes in Wichita (along with Freddy's, but we get to enjoy that restaurant locally). The Old Mill Tasty Shop is a long standing eating establishment with an even longer and impressive reputation. Patrick used to eat there from time to time when he worked in downtown Wichita, but this was our first experience, and it was awesome! I can't begin to explain how much fun it was to be with my kids and see them enjoy themselves to the highest degree. The same goes for me. Our waitress, who has worked there for over twenty-five years, showered the kids with love, chocolate malts and old fashion syrupy soda pop concoctions.
We walked and drove around Old Town in Wichita for awhile and proceeded to accept the generous offer of visiting The Museum of World Treasures for the afternoon. We managed to make our afternoon educational and enjoyed every minute of it.
We arrived home to Broken Arrow by 7:00 Friday evening and we were exhausted! But it was an amazing kind of exhaustion! Elias was already keyed up and ready to go for the following day as it would be his ninth birthday. It was much lower key than the previous two days, but he has reported that he had a great birthday. I continued on an emotional roller coaster on Sunday, but it was a good ride. I'll save that story for another day!
Hopefully, I haven't used up too big of a chunk of your day! I'll be able to sleep tonight knowing I was able to journal about this and have a way to re-live it on future days!
I will try and upload some of the pictures we took onto Facebook. I'm usually pretty slow about doing that, but will try to get my act together to get it done sooner than later!
I pray everyone is beginning to enjoy the cooler temperatures and anticipating a great fall season. I know I am!
My love to you all!