Saturday, October 15, 2011

Can we get to Bieber?

Here is a great post my friend Kate wrote about her efforts to show a little girl who has endured a kind of heart break and sadness that no little girl should have to endure that good things can happen even in the midst of tragedy.  

Kate is much better at explaining the whole thing than me so I have listed her post below but in short, Margaret lost her dear brother in the Virginia floods a short time ago and one night when making a grocery list for her dad she listed meeting Justin Bieber as one of her items as joke.  Now we're determined to make her wish come true!!!

Here's Kate with instructions on how we can do that:

I have to confess - I saw pictures of Justin Bieber in US Weekly magazine long before I ever heard any of his music. And the only opinion I've ever had on his fame is that people are CRAY-CRAY with all of that hate/death to Bieber stuff. He's just a kid! So weird...

But lately I've been thinking a lot about JB. 

I read this post last Friday on An Inch of Gray, and for the very first time wished that I had some Justin Bieber connections. Did you read that post? No? Do that now, then come back.

After reading that, I did something that took very little effort. I sent a few tweets to my small list of followers.

I'm going to be very honest. That was all I had planned to do. I generally assume that I'm not important enough to ask for special favors. From anyone really. I just thought I'd put it out there and someone else might make something happen.

And I'm going to be even more honest. I never really believed that anything would come of it. Because I don't believe in magic. I don't believe in miracles. I say I do - and I want to - but in the darkest places of my heart, I'm a pessimist. I don't believe that the impossible can happen. It can't right?  Isn't that what "impossible" means?

But then I kept reading the comments about people e-mailing Ellen and tweeting Usher. I saw people talking about it on Twitter. I saw FaceBook posts. So I thought I'd make one more weak gesture and e-mailed a list of friends and contacts that Anna and I share. I asked them to check out her post if they hadn't already seen it - and to work every contact they might have (since Anna and I know some well connected people...)

And strangely enough, they weren't nearly as pessimistic about the idea as I was. They were excited (actually using words like "exciting"). They really thought Justin Bieber reaching out to Margaret was possible.

This humbled me. I was ashamed to have made such a passive effort to help. To assume defeat before even trying. 

And as a just punishment, one of the Project Bieber enthusiasts (Loukia) sent me an e-mail address for Eric Alper, someone she knows in "the industry." Like she expected ME to make something happen. I don't think I've ever made anything happen in my entire life - life happens TO me.

This had me reeling. But what could I do? I sent him an e-mail. Here is what I wrote:

Hi Eric!

Thank you so much for forwarding your e-mail.

I've never actually tried to get in touch with a pop star on behalf of a ten year old girl I'm not sure where to start... But here is a brief overview:

I made a dear friend through blogging over the past few years named Anna Donaldson. On September 8th, she lost her twelve year old son, Jack in the DC area floods. Here is a link to the Washington Post article.

While Anna's blog was semi-anonymous and had a small following, the media coverage (and social media coverage: blog posts and tweets linking the story to her blog) more or less outed her. This ended up being an unexpected blessing in that her family found great comfort in the outpouring of supportive comments and e-mails.

The main thing that has been keeping Anna and her husband alive over the past few weeks though, is their daughter Margaret. They want to do everything they can to help her through this horrible time and ensure a happy future for her.

I think they have every reason to expect that this is possible since Margaret has amazing strength of character. She's a fighter. And at only ten years old, she's managed to make her parents laugh every day - when all they really want to do is cry. Anna has shared a couple of these moments on her blog. And today she posted a picture of a list Margaret wrote for her father to take to the store. As you can see, she jokingly mentioned Justin Bieber.

But it made a lot of us think. Why not ask? Who knows - maybe if someone knew someone who knew someone... Maybe he really would do something to acknowledge Margaret and give her something to feel happy about during the absolute worst month of her life. It would be something for her to hold onto - proof that good things happen too. And while no celebrity in the world could possibly make up for this terrible loss, it's the unexpected moments of happiness that get them through the day. My guess is that any attention from Justin Bieber could get Margaret through the week...

She's an extraordinary little girl. But she's also just a little girl grieving the loss of her brother and best friend. She has plenty of spunk and the resilience of youth. But she is getting through this one day at a time, just like her parents.

I'd like to help. And if that means writing fan mail to Justin Bieber (I mean - I'm almost 40!) I'll do it. I'll follow up on any lead and e-mail any stranger - including you!

So thank you for taking the time to listen and help if you can. If you can't - I understand. I have no idea who knows who in this industry. But I so appreciate your willingness to listen.

Hope to hear from you soon,

-Kate Coveny Hood

Eric was lovely about it. He replied right away and was both kind and honest. He said he would make sure that JB's management and PR people would read my message, but "what happens after that is magic really."

Oh. Magic.

So this is where I typically call it a day. I don't believe in magic, right? But here's the thing - the fact that this e-mail exchange actually happened felt pretty extraordinary to me.

The fact that a friend e-mailed me to say she has a famous Twitter friend who might be able to help. 

The fact that another friend has connections to a babysitter as well as other possible contacts.

The fact that a non-blogging friend commented on my FaceBook post that she has a friend who knows Justin Bieber and will talk to him.

The fact that people are doing things. They're making things happen. It feels maybe just a little magical to me.

So I'm not giving up. Instead, I'm writing this. And not because I think it's enough (it's not) - but it's a start. Someone who reads it might know someone who knows someone...

And even if that's not you - you can still help. You can talk about it. Maybe if enough voices are out there... 

So here is what everyone who reads this should do:

1. Follow @JBLiftMargaret (J and M's Auntie: hoping to lift up Margaret. Her big brother died on Sept 8 in VA flooding. She'd love to meet Justin Bieber! Please help bring her a smile!!

2. Tell all of your Twitter contacts to do the same.
3. Tweet about it.
4. RT any other tweets you see about it

(okay - you get the idea...they need more followers)
5. Do whatever you can to get the word out on FaceBook. I'm somewhat FB challenged - so you will have to ask others for specific advice on this...
6. Blog about it (why not? I did)
7. E-mail Ellen (I haven't done that yet - but I will in a minute)
8. E-mail everyone you know. You never know who they know...
9. Anything else? Please leave suggestions in comments.

The reason I included the text of that e-mail I wrote above is that I'm now considering it an open letter to everyone who might possibly be able to help. A "Dear Sir or Madam." Like a letter to the universe (blogosphere?) 

I still feel the limitations of "impossible"...I don't believe in magic or miracles. But I do believe in people. And I believe in you. Us. We. And there's a lot of possibility there. 

I also believe in Margaret. For her sake alone I'll try to believe that nothing about this is impossible. So if you have any magic up your sleeve, please help. Add your voice. And you never know - maybe we really can make a difference.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Forever and ever

Last night, after I read my six-year-old son his bedtime story and tucked him into his bed, he said in a whisper, "mommy, is it better to be alive or dead?"  

I was taken aback by the question as I sat next to him in the dark.  I didn't want to say something that would scare him about death but also not something that would diminish how precious life is so I said "it's better to be alive because you get to be with your family."  He thought about it for a minute and then said "I have one wish that I really want to come true....I want to live forever."

I didn't know how to respond.  None of us will live forever my love, I wanted to say but instead I kissed his head and said "no matter where you are, mommy will always be with you, forever and ever."  He turned around and looked at me and said, "even in heaven?"  

"Yes, even in heaven."