A little run-in with Jesse at Radio Lollipop
I’ve been thinking about Jesse the past few days.
It’s been a while since he’s come around our lives as blatantly as he did in Iceland, I just can’t seem to get him out of my thoughts lately. Perhaps that’s just become an ongoing habit for me… I think of Jesse often and it’s not uncommon for me to say a quick prayer to him for help with a Riding On Insulin project, or to remind him that our wedding day (a.k.a. what would have been his 15th birthday) HAS to have beautiful weather, or else my mom’s head might literally explode.
But the thing about Jesse is that he only comes around when we least expect it.
[For those of you who are new to The Mollie Shambeau Show and have yet to comb through the archives, you can read one of my previous posts here explaining who Jesse is and how he has become a part of my life.]
Earlier today, Sean and I were en route to the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) for a speaking engagement with Radio Lollipop. It’s an incredible concept—a radio station in children’s hospitals around the world created for the kids that involves all the best songs (e.g. Justin Bieber), crafts brought to their hospital rooms, and special guests like Sean who come to visit. The kids can listen from the comfort of their rooms and call in for contests and requests, or they can visit the lobby to see the studio for themselves. It’s kind of like bringing a little bit of Disney-esque magic to children who need it most.
On our drive, Sean and I were talking about our moods lately and how difficult it has been “going going going” all summer while planning our wedding. Sean mentioned he also felt he’d been out of sorts lately for a reason he couldn’t pinpoint—we chalked it up to the lack of snow in southern California and kept on driving.
I’ve been getting that creeping feeling a lot. You know what I’m talking about—it’s those days when you just feel like there are 50-pound weights in your shoes and nothing you do seems to work. You can barely pull yourself out of bed and it seems none of your dreams will ever come true and none of your projects will ever take off. A completely and utterly Debbie Downer day, times three. It’s so hard to shake days like that, no? I find that coffee and frozen yogurt help, although if I keep this up, I may have trouble fitting into that wedding dress!
We arrived at CHOC, and not more than 20 steps in the building and I felt a sense of calm; a sense that this place is special. Perhaps it’s the positive energy emanating from each room in the building—these kids, at times faced with their own mortality; who, despite overwhelming health issues, are still filled with joy and love, ready to share bits of optimism with others at the drop of a hat.
Sean and I had the incredible opportunity to visit with a few patients in their hospital rooms, and I was moved. What unimaginable burdens these youngsters carry on their shoulders. “Happy last day of chemo!” signs hung on one boy’s door, while another patient—just 19-years-old—suffers from stage three lung cancer. After he and Sean chatted about snowboarding for a few moments, the young man mentioned that he has a baby on the way. He also confided that stage three is only a few steps away from stage four.
“Yeah, there’s really not much they can do for me at this point.”
And yet, he carries on.
My heart felt as if it would literally burst out of my chest as we stopped by patient after patient affected by cancer, seizures, debilitating migraines… These. Kids. Are. Incredible.
There I’d been, Oh woe is me! complaining to my adorable, professional snowboarding fiancé that life was too hard, having to prepare for a “business” trip to Australia and New Zealand. Having a positive outlook was becoming too difficult. Waa waa waaaaa. SUCK IT UP, SHAMBEAU.
Sean was wrapping up a final segment back in the studio and the DJ thanked him for all his work for kids. He thanked Sean for showing kids that anything is possible and nothing should stop them from achieving their dreams. To close, the DJ chose a song to dedicate to Sean—the perfect musical compliment to all that Sean Busby embodies.
Wait for it: “Don’t Stop Believing,” by—yep—Journey. Jesse’s all time favorite song. The song that played on repeat at his funeral. The song with a chorus line that embodies all that Jesse stood for and still reminds us of today.
If ever there was a time in the past few months when I questioned our purpose and the need for our work with Riding On Insulin in the nonprofit sector, the doubt has been erased from my mind. As Sean said in the car on our way home, “Tonight made diabetes look easy.”
There is always someone out there who has it worse than you do, and there is always someone out there going through what you are experiencing. You are not alone. Don’t waste even a moment of time questioning yourself or your life’s mission. For lack of a better cliche, go out and seize the day.
But most of all, don’t stop believing.
Thanks Jesse. It was good to be with you tonight.