(If you haven't yet, read part 1 of this story before you proceed.)
As the big day approached, my three partners in crime and I shopped and joked about what to wear to a Gaga concert. Nikki and I finally found the “perfect” outfits. They were ridiculous, actually, which was what made them perfect. Three matched, and mine coordinated. There were baubles, jewels, leggings, junk foods, wine (of course), and more. We. Were. Prepared.
On Friday, September 1st,
we loaded up the car and headed to the hotel, which DIFTL had arranged for us.
We had a drink, got ourselves dressed, made-up, and bedazzled. Just the getting
ready was a much-needed breath of light-hearted fresh air. While we all are
hanging on to a whole bunch of hope, there had been a lot of talk of death in
recent days. There are certain details I can’t ignore…just in case. And those
are the conversations I’ve been having lately. They’re terrible, but necessary.
So “fun” was the name of the game for this particular night. All gussied up, we
headed to dinner and the show.
The show. This is the part where words intimidate me. How to describe the brilliantly positive atmosphere? So many happy people of every color, religion, and gender orientation. From the guy with the fishnet dress and silver tinsel hair, to the buttoned up, fleece-wearing couple in front of us, everyone was my favorite. But if we’re being honest, we four looked the best :-)
Mindi, Laura, Kerry, and Nikki, ready for Gaga
After finding friends and visiting for a bit to the electronic music of the pre-show DJ, on came the Lady herself. She belted and danced and she talked to us like she loves us. She really does. She loves all of the people. There’s a lot of hate in the world right now. A LOT of hate. But not there. It was all love. Soon came the moment I will remember forever. She sat down at her piano and began to tell a story about her friend and the manager of her tours, Sonja. Sonja died in May after a fierce battle with breast cancer. Lady Gaga wrote this of her friend and said a lot of it to us as she sat there at that piano:
“The other feeling I have is that of being robbed of the last 10 years of my life, friendship and career with her. Like someone took her from us, and with that taking took all the good times. I know that's not true, and I know that I have those memories forever, I'm just in shock that I will never have new ones with her. I'm in shock that I won't see her again until I pass too. I vow to be a little stronger everyday for her because that's what she would have wanted, I vow to be stronger for anyone who's lost somebody to cancer. I'm a part of that family now. I vow to be a warrior for her and be a voice for cancer patients so the world can continue to improve the dialogue and the fight. I loved her. I still love her.”
As our tears began to flow, thinking about the time someday in the future that this story becomes our story, she began to play and sing:
“It’s time to feel the rush to push the dangerous; I’m gonna run right to, to the edge with you; Where we’ll both fall far in love; I’m on the edge of glory and I’m hanging on a moment of truth; I’m on the edge of glory and I’m hanging on a moment with you… I’m on the edge of something final we call life tonight alright, alright”
When it began, I was sitting on the end of our group, but soon, I was surrounded by my people, holding my hand and squeezing my shoulders. It was awful and beautiful… so reflective of this entire experience for me. I’m grateful to Lady Gaga for wrapping up in words and music the beauty of the friendships and the sadness of the disease.
The rest of the concert was just as brilliant. Our trip back to the hotel was long but hilarious. The next morning, we had a delicious breakfast, followed by an eternal wait for two overworked valets. And even with a cannoli stop, Laura got me home by halftime of my son’s football game so that I could see him step in as 2nd string QB. I transitioned from giggly, happy girlfriend to proud sports mom pretty seamlessly, if I do say so myself.
Some debate Mike's vs Modern, but no one will argue that it's just not a trip to Boston without a cannoli stop in the North End.
I offer my deepest thanks to the Do It For The Love Foundation, without whom this adventure would never have taken place. Michael Franti’s spirit of love and positivity was paid forever forward with this gift. Did healing take place? Did my family of caretakers bond? Were lifelong memories made? Yes, yes, and so much yes! Mission accomplished, Mr. and Mrs. Franti. I hope that more people will find, support, and nominate deserving friends for this very special program. Life is a gift, and when people lift you up to help you live your very best life, that gift grows exponentially.