Thursday, August 16, 2007

Make a Difference. Write. Now.

Please stay with me on this one, because it is going to be difficult.

My grandmother is dying of cancer.

After my last post on Monday, I visited some other blogs to which I subscribe. After reading Jim Moon's inspirational post, titled Sieze the Day, I decided to call my grandmother. She is closer to me than my mother is, and I hadn't spoken with her in months.

When I called, my uncle told me she had been taken to the hospital earlier that day after she collapsed. A CAT scan revealed cancer in her lungs and at the base of her spine.

And she is dying.

When I wanted to be the third baseman for the Detroit Tigers, she bought me my first mitt and bat. Then, every night that summer, she pitched to me. She took me to my first Tigers game in that magical 1984 season.

After a couple years of playing a loaner guitar, she bought me my own. I still play it. When I told her I wanted to be a rock star, she bought me my first multi-track recorder so I could cut a demo. I've been a musician for 20 years now.

When I told her I wanted to race mountain bikes in the 2000 Summer Olympics, she went with me to get some better aftermarket parts for my bike. I've been an avid biker for 12 years.

Everybody should have someone who so completely supports their ambitions, no matter how unrealistic. While I never accomplished those goals above, baseball, music, and biking are still passions of mine.

You should know more.

When I was 14, I noticed three little scars on my mother's heel. I asked her what they were. She told me they were from a blood transfusion at birth. My grandmother and grandfather (whom I never met) had incompatible blood types. While they had three children, they lost four--all at birth.

The more I learned about my grandmother, the more she became my role model. She was born during the depression. She married young to an alcoholic husband who routinely beat her and the children. He couldn't keep a job. So she worked 60-hour weeks to support the family. This was in the '50s and '60s. When women's libbers were burning their bras and picketing for equal rights, she was behind a soldering iron, putting together circuit boards for early computers. Some days, it was dark when she went in to work. It was dark when she left.

She did it because she had to. She did it because her love for her family was greater than the challenge of the work.

In the '60s, she divorced my grandfather, which was still a very taboo thing to do at that time. She knew she faced ridicule. She knew it might make her life even more difficult. But she did it because she had to do it.

Most of her life was spent between a rock and a hard place. And I never, ever, ever heard her once complain about how difficult her life was. And because she worked so hard, my mother's life was better. And so is mine.

When I graduated from grad school with my 4.0 average, she sent me short letter telling me how proud she was of me. Of the thousands and thousands of pages I had to read in college, that degree didn't make me feel as accomplished as her short letter did.

She is my hero. She is my role model. And she is dying of cancer.

Because of her, I never get down when times get tough. Because of her, I never shy away from a challenge, no matter how difficult. Because of her, I'm a better father to my daughter. And because of her, I know that one person can change the world for the better, even if it has to be done one person at a time.

Where am I going with this? And why should you care?

This is why.

Whether you have a natural gift for words or you've toiled for endless hours to get good at writing, you have the skills you need to make a difference in the world.

There are hundreds of charities that need help. If you can write, you can volunteer your skills to help write grants, craft informative brochures, create websites to promote awareness. You can help good causes in your own neighborhood make a difference in your own backyard.

have the ability to help put new textbooks in schools.
You have the ability to help feed the poor your community.
You have the ability to help Vietnam veterans get the medical attention they require.
You have the ability to help ensure that someone else's hero and role model doesn't die from one of the most common diseases on the planet.

If you can write, you can make a difference.

I'm asking you in this post, to find a charity that you feel you can really get behind, and contact them, offering your services for free.

Right here.
Write now.

Thank you for reading.


Jim Moon said...

Wow, Geoff... This is a great and powerful post. I am very glad that my post made an impact, and helped you reconnect with your grandmother.

I too have been fortunate enough to be blessed with people like that in my life. Someone who is behind you 100% no matter how silly, or outlandish the ideas may seem.

My person like that was my younger (and only) brother. He passed away 5years ago from an inherited liver disease. He was my inspiration.

Although he was my younger brother, he pushed me through a lot of hard times, and believed in me, when no one else did. The best thing I ever have done in my life was to be there for him in his time of need.

Those times have passed, and I can always look back in remembrance of him knowing I was there, up until his final moments.

Trust me these are times that you will never forget, like the post say’s “Carp Diem”

Don’t let it slip by, I cherish every day I spent with my mentor (my brother) in his short time here.

Keep up the great posts brother…


Jim Moon

bhumika said...

thanks have made me realize the power of writing once again. it surely doesnt take much effort to help others with the written word, but it definitely makes a difference to someone who needs it the most at that time. Lovely post.

samantha said...


It's been a bit since I've stopped by the blog.

That was a great post, as usual.

I'll keep your family and your grandmother in my thoughts and prayers.


B-Dub said...

This post was pretty good and shows that true passion makes good writing not just witty remarks.

Geoff said...

Thanks for the comments, folks. Having readers who take the time to connect means so much.

Patricia Singleton said...

Geoff, thanks for the comment that you left on copyblogger about missing my blog is I stopped writing. I am sad to hear about your grandmother. I had a grandmother who was very special to me also so I can sympathize with your feelings. My maternal grandmother became my substitute mother when I was 2 years old and came down with whooping cough. The doctor told my parents that I needed to be somewhere else so that my baby brother wouldn't get it too. Most of my early memories are of being with my grandmother and uncle that lived with her. She was in her 60's when she told me in. I was at the terrible 2's and was very stubborn. When I was 7, my dad decided that I couldn't spend as much time with my grandmother as I had done before. My value system came from my grandmother, not my parents. You and your grandmother are in my prayers.