Recap, Reset, Rename

4 hours

600 people

2 million dollars

 all for Cystic Fibrosis research.

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Thursday night was our last CF event of the year.  We left on a high note and a fist full of cash for the CF cure. I left the evening with hope for the future, a couple of roses, and a York Peppermint Pattie.

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Ahhh, that Peppermint Pattie.

My very dear friend Donna makes sure every year that there are plenty of Peppermint Patties at the CF Gala, in memory of my little girl Jena.  “Of course they’re there!” Donna always says, “I would never forget her!”

Over 2 million reasons to be elated.
Over a dozen CF events behind me.
and only three painful dates to now endure.

It’s 11:30pm, the Gala is over,  I take a deep breath in and sigh as I think of what’s ahead of me.  I take a Peppermint Pattie off the table, and grab Marc’s hand as we walk out Cipriani’s doors down 42nd Street, toward our hotel.

Marc and I recap the success of evening as we stroll hand in hand in the brisk night air.  I just love the vibe of New York City…all the energy, the unexpected, the excitement that defines NYC.  We are here so often that we don’t even bother to read the street signs anymore; we just walk…engrossed in our chat about CF, what we plan to do about the unpleasant upcoming events, and ponder if we should stop at the great wine bar we like on 44th before we call it a night.

Together we seemed to have figured out how to get through in life what most people can’t understand.  Perhaps it’s as easy as just taking that one step at a time, hand in hand, where the streets have no names.  Okay maybe that last part is borrowed from Bono.

My point?

Life is hard.
Hearts get broken.
Some things are truly out of our control.
All the more reason to control how you handle it.

For 9 years now we have tried to figure out how to deal with 3 dates: Thanksgiving, December 4th, and Christmas.

They have been absolute hell for us since Jena “moved up” in 2006.

One date was her last holiday with us.
One date I will despise forever.
One date is a celebration that’s lost its magic.

We keep trying to find new ways to breathe through them. We just keep trying.

In 2010,  Marc & I decided to change things up a bit.  We cancelled Thanksgiving, renamed it “Just Thursday”  (JUST THURSDAY-Blog) and escaped on a 10-day adventure to nowhere and didn’t return home until December 5th…oh, and we took ALL our Facebook friends along for the ride.  We asked, “North on 95? or West on 80?”  We let our Facebook friends decide “Chattanooga or Memphis?” “Hurricane or Margarita?”

Our impromptu trip turned in to a communal escape from reality…with nothing but a suitcase, a smartphone and a sense of adventure.

We did that each year since.
We would begin on ‘Just Thursday’ and wouldn’t come home until after Dec 4th.
We needed to be anywhere but home.

Last year, in Savannah, on the morning of Dec 4, something changed.

(Here is part of my post from last year)

“This morning I woke up in Savannah ready for the waves of emotion that usually flood my heart.
Jena moved up to Heaven 8 years ago and though most days I’m ‘fine’….today is the day I allow myself to be anything I need to be and ‘fine’ isn’t ever close.

But today was different.

At breakfast I told Marc, “I’ve learned to allow Jena’s spirit to remain alive in my heart, always. Tonight, I really feel we need to see the sunset over the ocean and toast Jena, the beauty of life, and the fact that love never ends.”

Within 10 minutes we were in the car in search of the perfect sunset.

We checked in the hotel at 4:42pm.

Upon walking in to the hotel room I could feel Jena all around me. I have to admit, I lost it. On my knees, pity for myself that my daughter is not physically here anymore for me to hug but in Heaven to share her love with anyone who can feel it. Selfishly I wanted my little girl so desperately.

Think “a crying mess” …yup, that was me.

20 minutes and 8 tissues later…Marc had opened a bottle of wine, was playing soft jazz on our portable speaker…and was waiting for me out on the balcony.

This was my view.
This was my gift.
This is my sea of love.”

 

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So, this year…we are going there directly.
In our attempt to bypass the emotional roller coaster, we are flying directly to the source of it all.
A place where God, Mother Nature, and Jena fill my heart all at the same time.

There are no answers in life, just experiences and love.

Follow your hearts, my friends.
Go where the love is.
Go where there is peace. In peace and love…is when you know you are home.

May you all be home for the holidays.

09/30/2015 — Cystic Fibrosis Scientific Update-NYC

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Margarete Cassalina, author of the memoir, Beyond Breathing , will be speaking at:    

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10/01/2015 — Rose to Runway-Stamford, CT

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Margarete Cassalina, author of the memoir, Beyond Breathing , will be speaking at:     For more information on event:  Rose to Runway    Rose to Runway October 1st, 2015 6:30 – 10:30 PM The Loading Dock 375 Fairfield Avenue Stamford, CT 06902 For additional information, please contact: Rebecca Wasserman, Development Director rwasserman@cff.org or 212-986-8783

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10/15/2015 — Breath of Hope–Omaha, NE

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Margarete Cassalina, author of the memoir, Beyond Breathing , will be speaking at:     For more information on event:  Breath of Hope Breath of Hope October 15, 2015 at 6:00 PM Omar Arts & Events Center 4383 Nicholas Street Omaha, NE 68131 For additional information, please call (402) 330-6164 or email nebraska@cff.org.

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07/23/2015 — Sip For CF!-New Paltz, NY

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Margarete Cassalina, author of the memoir, Beyond Breathing , will be speaking at Sip For CF!     Please join us for a wine tasting at the beautiful Robibero Family Vineyards (New Paltz, NY) to benefit The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation THURSDAY, July 23rd From 6pm-9pm Guests will enjoy light hors d’oeuvres, raffles, 50/50, and entertainment featuring Raw […]

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05/30/2015 — Interview with CBS-NYC

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Want to change a life on a Sunday morning? Want to make someone breathe easier and add more tomorrows for those fighting CYSTIC FIBROSIS? What Is CYSTIC FIBROSIS? CURRENTLY THERE IS NO CURE WHAT CAN YOU DO?? DONATE ONLINE HERE OR Use your lungs and take a walk for those who can’t and COME JOIN US! […]

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05/07/2015 — Great Strides kickoff event with GroupM Worldwide in NYC

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Margarete Cassalina, author of the memoir, Beyond Breathing , will be speaking at a MediaComm encouraging GroupM Worldwide to continued their generous support to The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

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06/07/2015 — Cystic Fibrosis Great Strides Walk-Poughkeepsie, NY

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  Want to change a life on a Sunday morning? Want to make someone breathe easier and add more tomorrows for those fighting CYSTIC FIBROSIS? What Is CYSTIC FIBROSIS? CURRENTLY THERE IS NO CURE WHAT CAN YOU DO?? DONATE ONLINE HERE OR Use your lungs and take a walk for those who can’t and COME JOIN […]

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03/25/2015 — Cystic Fibrosis Great Strides Kick-off Event

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Please Join Us at Our 2015 Great Strides Kick-Off Party! Date: Wednesday, March 25, 2015 Time: 6:00PM—8:00PM Location: The Mill House Brewing Company (289 Mill Street, Poughkeepsie, NY 12601) We will have updates from the CFF-VLC Conference in DC including: Science Update, Public Advocacy, and fundraising ideas! Appetizers, Door Prizes, and a cash bar. Guests […]

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03/20/2015 — CF Foundation’ s 2015 Volunteer Leadership Conference, Bethesda, MD

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  Margarete Cassalina, author of the memoir, Beyond Breathing , will be joining other dedicated volunteers for 2015 Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s National Volunteer Leadership Conference in Bethesda, MD March 20th – March 21st More information regarding:  The Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

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