Eight weeks ago, I was at my parents’ house in St. Catharines thinking that my mom had days to live. We knew it was coming. Last June, she had let us know that her pancreatic cancer had returned. At that time, she informed me that her goal was to live at least until her mother’s 100th birthday party, which was June 2nd of this year. The palliative care unit set up a bed in the house and on that first evening I put on the Green Lantern, thinking that Ryan Reynolds would cheer her up. If you haven’t seen it, the Green Lantern harnesses the power of will, which, according to Marvel, is one of the most powerful elements in the universe. At the end of the movie, I joked that she must have great will power because she always wears green.
Things went downhill for the next few days and we thought the end was near. Then, to the surprise of the doctors and nurses that were coming to the house, she held on and began to progress. For Mother’s Day (a week after all of this started), my family presented her with her very own Green Lantern Ring, mainly as a joke, but also to keep her mind on recovery. Her hands were too swollen to put it on, but she loved it as a gift and pointed out to my kids that she was still wearing green.
Early the next week, I was sitting with her and asked what she could remember about the week before. She said a lot of it was fuzzy and although she couldn’t open her eyes or communicate, she heard everything. What she did remember was wondering why everyone was talking like she was going to die. “All I was thinking was, ‘I am not dying. I still have to get to my mom’s birthday. That was my goal and I am not going to fail!’” I told her to keep focused on that goal, although with three weeks until the party I was still a little skeptical that it was going to happen.
On June 2nd, my grandmother celebrated her 100th birthday with around 200 of her closest friends – she knew every one of them, but that story is for another newsletter. We had arranged for a patient transfer ambulance to pick my mom up at the house and wheel her into the hall so she could celebrate the momentous occasion with her mother. She was dressed all in green and was wearing the Green Lantern Ring on her no longer swollen finger. She beamed the whole party, talked with friends and sang happy birthday with the crowd.
When the festivities were over, I dropped my grandmother at her house and stopped in to see my parents. I looked at my mom and asked, “So now what? With sheer will and determination you met your goal. What is next?” She quickly replied, “My birthday is at the end of the month. I want to live to see it.” I am thrilled to say that I just got back from St. Catharines where we celebrated my mom’s 75th birthday. I even joked with my grandmother, asking her if she could believe she has a daughter that is 75 years old. “So, what’s next,” I asked my mom. “Well,” she replied, “your dad’s birthday is next month…”
There is truth to the adage “Where there is will, there is a way”. What prompted the regaling of this story (told with my mom’s permission), was a conversation I was having with my parents and grandmother tonight about a large group of stakeholders who have been organizing and growing the Uxbridge Studio Tour for 30 years. Last year, they had reached out to Central Counties to see about partnering with us to expand the tour and encompass restaurants and shops to make it a true tourism experience. We thought it was a great idea and started moving ahead on the project until it came to a screeching halt because one of our requirements is that a partner has liability insurance.
Unfortunately, we weren’t dealing with one partner on the project – there were 30. And not all of them had the right type of insurance or the right amount of coverage. While the official partnership fell through last year, they pulled off another great event and were able to expand a bit. CCT kept working with them to promote the event and suggested that there may be ways that they could get some sort of umbrella insurance for the event, although in the back of my mind I was thinking that trying to get 30 different stakeholders to buy-in was going to difficult at best.
Well, they did it. They all got together and figured out how to get insurance. They also are investing more money this year to make their 30th Anniversary special. And they are working with more area businesses so visitors can be entertained for the entirety of their visit. With all of this difficult work behind them, Central Counties is able to partner with them this year, which will further assist them to reach their goals. At this point my mom said, “It sounds like all thirty of those artists wear a Green Lantern ring!” And really, it’s true.
All of us have roadblocks dropped on us that makes it difficult to reach our goals. How we respond to them is often the difference between success and failure. Actually, “failure” isn’t the right word. If the Uxbridge Studio Tour stakeholders decided it was way too much effort to figure out how to get insurance so they could partner with CCT, their event still would have been successful this year. But they wouldn’t have been able to reach their goal. So, perhaps, it is best said that your response to roadblocks can be the difference between successfully achieving your goal or not. Regardless, the Uxbridge Studio Tour artists did not let the insurance roadblock stop them. With determination and will, they banded together to figure out how they could achieve their goal. It took them a year to get it all figured out, but they kept at it and were ultimately successful at partnering with us.
Central Counties is here to help you overcome the roadblocks that are keeping you from achieving your goals – from red tape holding you up to marketing and communications support. And while I don’t have green rings for everyone, our staff has the will to help you be able to achieve your goals. We are just an email away and are looking forward to talking to you.
As for my mom, I hope that she wills herself into next year. If anyone can do it, it’s her.
From all of us at Central Counties, have a great Canada Day long weekend!