I can't find the word. The one word that would apply to what I experienced Saturday night. I have said it over and over again that I felt humbled by the love shown to me and thankful that I am so blessed. I was honored to be with so many wonderful people, family, friends, and strangers alike. It really was like an out of body experience for me. So surreal. I remember looking around the room and saying to myself, "STOP!", Ellen you need to be in this moment 110%, right here, right now and just take it all in." I actually did take it all in, I took a really deep breathe and at that moment all of the love in that room came right into my lungs and I held it there for a second, as I exhaled I thanked God for that breathe and for the opportunity to stand there and witness a room full of people who were all there for one reason - ME.
I have always had "friends", and I have always been "liked". But when you find out that you are truly LOVED for the person you are - whoa, talk about a MOMENT. I was raised to be good to people, to care for others and to always help others when I can. It's how I was raised, it's how we (my brother and sister) were raised. I have tried to raise my own children this way as well. I remember Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, cooked for 40 people or more sometimes. My Grandfather invited everyone that had no where to go. He refused to let any of his friends be alone on a Holiday and sometimes even invited strangers to eat with us. He was a generous man. When I was about 10 some fisherman pulled up to the wharf by the Marina. I remember my Paw Paw talking to them as they pumped gas. I was watching from upstairs in the rest. A few minutes later my Paw Paw came upstairs and handed me a piece of paper and told me to give it to my Mi Mi. I ran upstairs (where we lived) and gave her the paper. I remember she smiled and told me to go and tell him it would take her about an hour or two. I ran back down and relayed the message. By that time Paw Paw had breakfast cooking, fried fish lol and coffee. These 2 men were sitting at a table and whispering. They were dirty looking and smelled very bad. My Paw Paw fed them and talked with them. When my Mi Mi got back she gave my Paw Paw some bags. He had sent her to get them a part for the boat that they needed, changes of clothes, and blankets. I am not sure but I can bet she probably had bought some soap and deodorant and such as well for them. I think that was the first time I ever saw a grown man actually cry and hug another man. I don't recall what the circumstances were, or how Paw Paw knew they had no money and needed help. I don't know if they were legit or pulled one over on him, but it doesn't matter. My Paw Paw did what Paw Paw would do - he would give whether you asked for his help, denied you needed it or whatever. He didn't help others because he had to, he did it because he wanted to. If he knew he could do something to make things better for you - it was done. He never expected pay back, he never wanted a thank you. He just wanted YOU to have what you needed to get through whatever it was you had to. His generosity and love for other human beings was incredible. This is just one of many many stories I could share about him.
(I really hope Mom doesn't read this post tonight but I have to write it.) Saturday night was a Paw Paw moment for me. I physically felt him there with me when I took that microphone to speak. It was a moment of me needing help and someone giving it to me whether I asked for it or not. It was a matter of strangers donating money and not knowing who Ellen was, but making it a point to walk over, introduce themselves, wish me the best and then tell me how evident it was that I am loved by so many. It was looking over at my husband, Mom, and Pop and family and thinking how much this night was helping us and that we could actually enjoy the night without feeling guilty about having a great time. It was a Paw Paw moment because no one, NOT one person in that room expects (ed) anyone in my family to do anything in return except FOCUS ON ME GETTING BETTER
I wish that you could all have that Paw Paw Moment. That moment like I had Saturday night. The Moment that slaps you silly and says this is what it's all about you big dummy! Doing for others, giving what you can no matter how much or how little you think it is. Recognizing friendship and appreciation for one another and wishing only the best to those around you. Helping someone whose fallen and just needs to be picked up. Everything good that you have done will eventually come back to you and it will be a Moment that you will never forget. Thank you for giving me mine!