Yesterday I was shocked. Today I am grieving. Yesterday I heard the news that one of my blogging friends, Anissa Mayhew, had a stroke (and then another) on Tuesday and is in the ICU.
I call her a blogging 'friend' even though I only met her a handful of times at the BlogHer conference last summer. Yet I call her a friend because she is one of those people who instantly becomes everyone's friend. She is the kind of woman who would toast us all with a "here's to those who love us well, and all the rest can go to hell!". She is vibrant, warm, funny, sarcastic, energetic, raunchy, sassy, and strong. She is a fighter. More importantly, she is ALIVE. You can feel the energy pour forth from her when you're around her. Hell, you can feel it pour forth from her blog entries.
I don't remember the first time I encountered Anissa's blog at hope4peyton.org, a blog about her youngest daughter's fight against leukemia, but stumble upon it I did, and I was instantly touched. Not just touched in the way that any of us would be for a family with such a fight ahead of them, but also impressed by her energy, her humor, and her strength. I was what you would call a lurker, but lurk I did, for quite some time. When I decided to go to BlogHer this year, Anissa was one of my personal 'celebrity' bloggers that I hoped to meet. Would I have anything to say to her? Would I even have the courage to approach her if I saw her? Probably not. But I was excited about the possibility nonetheless! Then I happened across a guest post she made on Karl's blog, Secondhand Tryptophan, and was compelled to leave a comment. She replied to me and told her I had to stop her if I saw her at BlogHer. Sure, no problem, right! (Secretly expecting myself to chicken out anyway! Because THIS WOMAN IS A LEGEND, y'all.)
And then I found myself at the Ford Ride 'N Drive event, a pre-BlogHer activity where many of us went on a fantastic tour at the Ford plant. And I found myself in a group with a vibrant, loud, sassy, funny lady who looked really familiar. Could it be? THE Anissa? Was it really her? Oh god. IT IS. I'm pretty sure it is! Isn't it? Do I dare go over and say hello? DO I?
I did. And she REMEMBERED MY COMMENT TO HER. And she was nice, and sweet (but still salty! like the best pickle you've ever had!), and friendly, and warm, and open, and everything that I'd imagined her to be from her blogs, AND MORE. And I know for sure that the world is a better place with Anissa Mayhew and her family in it.
Anissa has fought for so much in her life already that it is a shame, a crying shame, that she has another huge fight ahead of her now. But I know she will fight, because the very core of this woman is strength. I know she will overcome obstacles the rest of us could barely dream of tackling. I know this tiny powerhouse will work wonders, and I know she's due a few miracles by now; but at the same time, my heart grieves for her and her family that they HAVE to fight this fight. Anissa is only 35 years old. She has a husband who loves her and three young children who adore her, who NEED her.
God bless you and your family, Anissa. I am not much of a praying woman but I am praying for you all right now. Thank you for being the wonderful you that you are, and thank you for enriching my life.
For those of you that would like to help the family, and can, here is a link to do so:
Her husband will be posting updates on her progress at their family blog, and there may also be additional updates on her group blog, Aiming Low.
Please join me in praying for the Mayhew family.