On Sunday, September 30th, I hosted a huge Book Launch Party Celebration in NYC, at West Side Comedy Club. A few years ago, when I was beginning to write this epic love and loss story book about the life and death of my husband, I did a fundraising campaign where lots of great people donated to help make my book happen. One of the things I promised as part of that campaign, was that when the book was finished, I would have a huge Book Launch Party in NYC.
Well, 4 years and a few months later, I did it. I put time and energy and hard work and money into this party. I ordered food. There was a huge sheet cake that said "Thank You for your support", and had the cover of my book superimposed right into the icing. We did a raffle to raise money for Soaring Spirits, and I called and gathered people to donate services, goods, books, and gift cards toward the raffle for prizes. I stood up on the stage and read from my book. I did a little bit of comedy. My friend Lori, who manages the club where we held the party, also did some comedy and spoke very kind words about me in front of everyone there.
So many friends came out to support me. So many people bought my book. So many people I took pictures with, and smiled with, and said: "Can you believe how long its been?" with.
So many people from so many walks of my life. All there to help me honor Don, and honor myself. I stood on that stage and told [people how proud I am of this book, and told people that even though it is Don's legacy, it is also mine. Everything came together at that party. It wasn't perfect, but it was pretty amazing. At one point I was running around, signing books, talking with friends, meeting new people, and making sure everyone had food, when someone said to me: "Make sure you eat something. You never eat enough at your own party."
And I suddenly had that familiar feeling of what this felt like. My wedding day. Being the bride, and mingling and taking pictures and being so busy that you never even eat. I felt that joy too, that joy that I had just done something beautiful, and that everything would be okay. On my wedding day, the joy came from love. And during my party, the joy came from love too. Don wasn't there, physically, and not in the way that I wanted him to be. But make no mistake - he was all over that party. He was there, and he shared in my joy and my pride at what had been accomplished here at this event. This book, that I sometimes thought I would never finish , was helping people. And I could stand on a stage in a NYC club, with pride in my voice, and tell the story of me and this incredible man named Don Shepherd, and how his love for me was the catalyst for all things good. Thank you Don. I miss you dearly, and always. And it hurts something awful. But nights like that one, that party - celebrating and honoring life and love - are where I feel you most of all. You are a part of everything, and I am so much better for it.