I read the comments to one of my posts the other day (...And Counting). Leave it to Tonto to turn me into a blubbering fool first thing in the morning. She and her daughter, Mandy are both listed on my t-shirt - both of them cancer survivors, both of them high at the top of my motivation for doing the walk. Last year I attended a fabulous birthday party in celebration of Mandy's 40th - it was a birthday party that some weren't sure would happen due to the particularly vicious nature of Mandy's breast cancer diagnosis. Her husband Mart promised her early on that if she fought hard and made it to forty, he'd throw her the biggest, baddest bash ever. They both lived up to the promise. It was one of the finest evenings of my life, and I was so glad to be there to share it. I'm honored to be walking for the entire Sherman clan - after all, cancer doesn't just leave its mark on the person who has it, and this is a huge, loving family.
Her words were so eloquent though, and what she wrote rang so true that it shook me. She said, " You are my hero and my friend, and I am humbled by the amazing person you are! As one of the 32 people on your cancer T-shirt, my daughter Mandy being another, we will never be able to thank you enough for this 60 mile walk you are doing for all of us. Every step you take, may mean a life saved, and a lifetime fulfilled. As a Mom of a breast cancer survivor, I know first hand how devastating this horrible disease is, and just how hard the fight for life is, and so do you, that's why this walk is so personal for you. Even though you won't have your tunes to help you "move on down the road", you will have angels and spirits all around you, and you will be walking to the beat of hearts that you have known and loved, and hearts unknown, and Sabi, that is the best tempo a gypsy could ever hope to walk with and for......"
Knowing Tonto as well as I do, those words carry such weight for me. She doesn't pull any punches, ever. It's why I love her so dearly. What really struck me though was her notion that I'll be walking to the beat of the hearts that I've known and loved - that beat being the best tempo for a walkin' gypsy. I never would have thought of it or put it that way, but it's so very true and so perfectly put.
I have decided to dedicate my second day of walking entirely to Tonto and her family. Without her love and support these past couple of years in so many ways, I know I wouldn't be where I am today. So it is with deep gratitude to The Universe that I'll be lacing up my shoes Saturday morning, and thanking all the gods for sending Tonto into my life. And I'll set out, grateful for every step that we have taken and will take in this beautiful friendship we share.
Love you Tonto, with all my beating heart.... hi-ho Silver! Away.....!!!!