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My Gratitude

on October 20, 2005 - 8:38pm

I close my eyes and am carried to a world filled with peace, magic and unimaginable joy. Could there be an opiate created that brings these emotions that I hold in my soul – emotions begging to be set free – to run – to laugh- to meander among the trees – traverse the skies – the stars – the boundless heavens.

One voice – filled with the whisper of angels – the tears of dew from the morning rose – the deliverance of blessed news.

From the moment of my inception of that voice – seemingly ages ago – on a television series – my quest began to find his music. How I searched and searched until the Black and White cover simply stating Josh Groban – placed upon a New Release rack drew my eye. With heart pounding and shaking hands I gently lifted the CD and thanking the lords of music bought and brought into my home the beginning of my journey.

Over and over I listened and could not fathom that such a sound could come from one so young. My daughters grew to know the familiarity of the verses and soon we were all lifting our voices to join those of the angel.

I scoured the interned to find any tidbit of news of this magical lad – taking in and saving each written word – each picture onto this technical machine. This became my hallowed apparatus.

Even then the pain in my back was beginning but thinking nothing of it but some stress I let it go. But it would prove something to be reckoned with.

On a Christmas morning – now a few years ago – I received the gift of the PBS DVD and CD and tickets to Roy Thompson Hall for Sonic Bloom. Once more – drawn to the magic I watched and listened until the words I could not understand became as a second language. I had mesmerized each syllable. But now I watched, having to recline, in great pain.

The night of the concert came and my daughters and I readied to embark on the next road toward what would be only the start of my saving grace.

In the first row of the balcony we watched and wept as Josh took the stage. Mesmerized by the aura of such an angel singing for all of us. The concert finished we scoured the venue for just a glimpse of Josh – but he was not to be found. Every other performer was there and they were so gracious. Tariqh and Zack were welcoming and promised to tell Josh just how much our hearts were touched.

It came time to visit the doctor and thus many tests began with the result Leukemia. I had to fight for my beloved daughters and a mother who had been stricken with two strokes.

I began with many transfusions to build my immune system and continued my travels though the internet until the blessed home of FOJG was announced. I had found a haven to go to – a place to read and sing the praises of Josh. I had already spoken to my girls about playing To Where You Are and You Raise Me Up should my health fail and I should move to a final resting place.

Closer was released and without hesitation I placed my order for the internet version. Each day I waited, in anticipation, for its arrival. But before it came my daughter, one morning, ran into my room announcing that Josh Groban would be doing a signing at Sherway Gardens. Oh my goodness – ten minutes from my home. I could not believe the he was going to be here.

That Saturday came and still my CD had not come. Arriving at the Mall I ran into the first record shop and found one version. I moved to the area where so many had already gathered to greet Josh. A table was set by another record shop and there was yet another version of Closer. Two more songs – I must have this too. Yes this would be the one I would ask to be signed. I moved into position, speakers surrounding the closed area. My daughter and her friend stood just outside the vicinity – camera in hand for the moment I would look into those lovely eyes. In an instant I heard his name announced and there he stood, smiling and greeting his adoring fans.

We formed a line to go to where Josh was ushered to sit and inching forward I was soon before him blurting out just what his melodies meant to me and of my illness. He reached out his hand and gently held mine as I told him of my intent to have his music with me until the end. His eyes understood and his voice, soft and comforting thanked me for thinking thus. Josh, thanking me. No it is I thanking him. Too soon my few moments were over and I slowly left – my daughter putting her arm around me to steady me.

Soon my illness progressed and then the chemo and bone marrow tests. My CD player held only Closer and, as I lay receiving my transfusion in one arm and the chemo in the other the sound of Josh’s voice was all I could hear. Even when the long needles crunched in my bones and I wanted to scream, the soothing rhythm in my ears kept me calm. Within weeks the nursing staff set up a player in my little cubicle – I had already converted many of the hospital staff to become Grobanites.

FOJG, a home that is graciously given to us by Josh, became just that – a home where I could share my ills and pray for others on the Prayer Thread that was started for another lovely woman stuggling with Cancer. I found a common bond – a family that I grew to love and who love me in return.

It was announced that Josh was touring and coming to Toronto. I put of my treatment the day the tickets went on sale and sat at the computer waiting for the moment I could order for my daughters, their friend and for myself. Eleventh row – I was so pleased. But unbeknownst to me, a darling Grobanite had put out the cry for me to meet Josh backstage. She left no stone unturned and two nights before the show an email came from Lynne Malone simply stating that a little bird had told her that I would like to meet with Josh. My heart felt as if it had left my chest. I was overcome with such joy. I called many Gobanites and found that Pati had been the one to arrange this gift of love. I was overcome with such euphoria and the tears flowed for hours. That same night my youngest daughter confessed that she, also, wrote daily on to plead with the powers that be for a meeting with him. This is love – love that was given to me – a love not expecting anything in return.

On that February night my daughters, my eldest daughter boyfriend called a taxi and we were off to the Meet and Greet. As we entered the restaurant so many Grobanites were greeting each other as if there was a bond that had been for a lifetime. United in one love – love for that one voice of magic.

After only a few sips of my Ginger tea we made our way to the Air Canada Centre. With a pounding heart we entered the large venue and my youngest and I went to the will call window to pick up our back stage passes. An envelope was handed to us and inside was not only the passes but also two more tickets in the third row. It was decided that my youngest would sit with me. Two tickets left – a quick search for Grobanites without seats, we gladly gave them the tickets. I know how much it meant to them and their eyes filled with tears of gratitude.

The concert was breathtaking and my daughter held me as I wept during To Where You Are and You Raise Me Up. What if that was the last time I would bask in hearing these songs, that now meant the world to me?

The concert ended too soon and my Alana and I made our way to the back of the venue where we waited to hear the words “Here he comes”. We waited and in a heartbeat he was in front of me. I put my arms around him and confessed “Thank you for my life”. Josh looked perplexed and then Alana helped to explain how he has been my constant companion through all my treatments – both of us in tears. Once more the doe like eyes and the soothing voice giving me encouragement and again thanking me blessed me. Again I wondered how he could thank me for I had so much gratitude to this young man whose soul has traversed this universe and gained such an unassuming nature.

It was hard to say goodbye and leave the splendor that has been my companion for so long.

I rushed home to post to the Grobanites and share my blessed experience. Once more I was reminded to Never Let Go and fight, for now there was even more reason. What if I could see him perform again? My Grobainte family held my hand through FOJG and through the numerous phone calls and gifts I received.

Spring came and so did a set back – more transfusions and so many more tests. Josh continued to sing in my hospital room.

I came home to find that a friend had purchased tickets for me to go to Darien Lake. How could I go? No car – no energy – but it was to see our Josh and I had to find a way. But the way found me. A friend offered to drive me. How could all this come into place?

Six weeks before the concert I had rigorous tests, including another bone marrow injection. Exhausted I took to my bed and while watching Josh’s first PBS special on DVD the phone rang and my Oncologists voice rang clear – Remission Irene – you are in remission. My daughters’ arms around me – so many tears of gratitude and Canto Alla Vita echoing through the bedroom – yes Josh was here for that moment too.

I went to Darien with renewed spirit and gratitude. I did not meet with Josh that night but my heart was on the stage with him.

Ahh and recently Tangelwood – my entry before this one expressed the trill of each of moment.

Since then there have been many moments where my angels were greatly needed. I offer so many blessings to Ginger and Cherri for their endless help.

And special Susan and Annie who never give up on me.

How can this simple human find the right words to say thank you. Josh, you will never know the blessings you have brought to me. My Oncologists, my nurses and my children know that the gift you gave me is life. You gave me this gift without your knowledge. I am indebted to you with each breath I take. The blood cells that run through me are your lyrics – they keep me filled with hope. Perhaps, one day, I can show my appreciation.

Until that day I continue to spread the Josh to each individual I meet – perhaps this is a beginning to humbly say thank you.

IreneK24's picture

Remebering Tanglewood

on October 20, 2005 - 8:30pm

It has been a few months now since the magic of Tanglewood filled my senses with excitement, joy, meeting my fellow Grobanites and oh so many tears.

As I boarded my plane, I experienced a great tremble within my heart and soul. My first trip alone to a place of great love and happiness. The names I had seen on the board would become faces that would stay with me for all time.

A mere hour and a half I stepped down the stairs of the plane – shaken at the experience and walked into the airport, found my luggage and headed toward the exit. A glorious chant greeted me. On the stairs three angels GINGER, CHERRI AND LUZ were calling my name. Hugs and tears greeted me and I was whisked into the Josh mobile. It was covered with Josh sayings – Honk if you love Josh Groban, Gobanites in board, We love Josh…….a magical car.

During our drive Luz’s cell rang and MO urged us to hurry to Tanglewood as Josh was rehearsing. My tears welled up once more. Oh goodness, will we be on time, will we see him…our hearts surged.

When we arrived, GINGER used her magic and we were granted entrance into Tanglewood. The rehearsal was finished and Zack appeared followed by our angel Josh, beautiful Mrs. Groban and gentle Mr. Groban. They came over to us – my hands began to shake. The gentle voice that had been a great part of miracle was in front of us – once more those tears.

I was honoured to be able to speak to Mrs. Groban and to share the miracle of my remission and that even my doctor’s had acknowledged that her wonderful son and his glorious gift was with me each moment of the long days of treatment. I was so pleased to let her know how special Josh is. The true gift that he has been given to calm us, excite us and yes, to help bring miracles into being. I believe a few tears came into Mrs. Grobans eyes as I expressed my gratitude to her for sharing her Josh with us all. It is hard to put into words just how gracious and loving Mrs. Groban is. She held my hands and a peace came over me. I asked her if I could ask Josh for a picture and she gently touched her sons shoulder and introduced us. I whispered that we had met a few times and as he has met so many adoring Grobanites that he would not remember. He simply stated, “Of course I do.” I was overwhelmed. Oh goodness, tears are streaming as I write this. A few pictures and suddenly it was over and I watched them walk away to greet another group of waiting Grobanites.

I turned and was overwhelmed and wept and wept.

On to the Eastgate Inn and seeing the blessed Grobies we would be sharing the Inn with. Each moment was a blessing. The hug from Pati – so many tears – finally we meet – we touch and share a most beautiful hug. Helena and her kind husband, Nick, Sandra Kay and her adoring husband, Sue (Green Groban) – a gentle and more so beautiful woman with love that glowed in her eyes.

Susan dropped by to say hello and yet more tears. Susan who was the first to call me to Tanglewood and purchase me a ticket.

I truly can’t express the beauty of all these women – kind, gentle and so giving. I continue to be humbled at their tenderness.

The day ran away swiftly and we were off to the TGIJ – more angels to meet, Mo, Carole, Rosemary, Janice (who I learned worked at the hospital, in England where I was born), Joni, Carol Ann and my fellow Canadian Grobanites – to reach out to – more tears.

Ah and then Cidalia – never have I seen such beautiful eyes – felt such a pure soul and a heart overflowing with love. I was proud to be wearing my Grobanite necklace, sent to me as I was undergoing treatment. We too cried a great deal.

The night was organized so beautifully and I thank all those who worked so hard to put it all together.

The next day was one of anticipating the concert. Cherri took me shopping and bought me the loveliest jacket to wear that night.

The evening came and off to the meet and greet – a black and white affair under a white tent. A lovely gift awaited us all. Deb and her wonderful crew had worked so hard. It was a dream. I received a gift from Cidalia and her lovely mother – a gift I shall cherish for all my life – a gift of angels from an angel.

The concert was magnificent under the canopy of the night sky. Josh William’s so lithe and glorious in white. His body moving gracefully as he directed. It was as if each song captured him also. Intermission and then our Josh – tears welled and I allowed myself to be swept away to “Smile”. The lights of the Grobanite light wands lit the air with their glow as Josh sang Vincent. So beautiful – so moving – so incredible.

Too soon the show was over and we headed back to the tent. I walked with Cidalia and her beautiful mother and upon reaching the tent the black car bringing Josh arrived. Words cannot begin to describe how thrilling it was to hear him laugh, to talk to us and to acknowledge his Grobanites.

Saying farewell to all the angels the next day was hard – so much harder than I could imagine. But, the Lord willing, I shall meet them again.

I thank each one that I met for their light and love and I cannot begin to thank Mrs. Groban for the words she shared with me.

I love you ALL and I humbly thank GINGER, CHERRI and SUSAN for without these angels my dream could not have come to pass.

IreneK24's picture


on March 3, 2004 - 12:28am

How can I express how much I love my friends in the threads that I have seen and had the honour of posting in.

My beautiful, beloved friends are my earthly angels that continue to uplift me every day. Each night I come to this beautiful home that Josh has given to us and I read the words of love for our darling gentleman with his glorious voice. I listen to each song - each word is embedded in my soul.

How could I think think that one day I might not be here. It is beyond my imagination. As each day, I face my treatments, I grow stronger in my faith and truly believe that I shall be cured. My friends have prayed so much and Joshs' voice has cradled me through all my tears and pain. I know that the Lord shall not forsake me through my trials and tests that this earth has given to me.

And to see that some of my most beloved have added comments to my journal makes me smile and Dear Lord I feel their love and encouragement.

This little journal has given me a space to write all my inner feelings and share - even though they may not be read.

May God protect my darlings in this home of love. May He keep them in his care. I do love them so much and even find the words to express how much they mean to me.

May our Josh be always safe as he travels. May love and joy surround him each day and night. May tender arms hold him and ensure him that he means the world to so many of us.

In this little space I can say how much I care for our Josh. He has given me so much courage to fight the good fight and to overcome my ills. His young but wise spirit is an example of belief. The belief that we may achieve what our heart desires. Never to give up no matter what adversities may come to hinder our pathways.

Mr. Foster has been given such a wonderful gift in Josh. He has nurtured him and has made him the envy of so many other artists. I hope that he has the opportunity to sing with one of his favorite artists Bjork. She is a great talent. I am certain that if she knew of Josh's wishes she would be happy to share a moment in his glow.

As this night has grown to morning I feel the Angels surround me and shall go to slumber in the knowledge that I am protected and loved as I never believed I could be loved.

IreneK24's picture

Ah Life

on March 1, 2004 - 4:13pm

Again so much time has passed since I have written here. I seem to come to vent my ills and sadnesses.

But today I was so happy to see that my journal was selected as one of five top journals. Thank You FoJG Mods.

I continue with my treatments and medications which make me so sick. I have made a testimony that I shall not post my ills on the Prayer Line for the season of Lent. I shall pray for others and not ask for any for myself. It is helping others, I beleive, that I shall be healed.

On Feb. 19th I had the miracle of my life come to pass. Nanapati - my guardian angel had been working so hard to arrange for me to meet with Mr. Groban after his Toronto Concert. And the night before I received a lovely email from Lynne saying that two passes will be at the will calll window.

This was such a blessing. I would have the honour of letting Josh know just what he has done for me.

The concert was magnificent. Josh more than Raised Us Up. There were so many tears, mine included. I sobbed as I listened to To Where You Are. Josh was so gentle and seemed larger than life on stage. I know that this gentleman is far beyond his tender age of 23. His soul has traversed the ages before coming into this lovely body it now possesses. The scrims were beautifully appointed and the crying violin of Lucia completed the most magnificent mood. The band, orchestra and the students that joined Josh for You Raise Me Up were all from the heavens. Although it was mentioned that it was the choir from the University of Toronto, it was in fact The Etobicoke School For The Arts where my daughter graduated from last year. You can imagine her tears as she saw her school friends on stage with josh.

After the show the tiny body entered the room. Tiny but larger than life. I couln not resist putting my arms around him and proclaiming "Thank You for saving my life". He was taken aback. I explained that I listened to his music constantly especially when receiving treatment. It helped diminish my pain. He was so gracious and delightful and happily signed my program and posed for pictures with myself and then my daughter Alana.

For this beautiful miracle I thank Mr. Foster and Mr. Di Carlo, Lynne and of course Josh. And that very special lady - my own guardian angel who never gave up her quest in getting me to see Josh.

I now will continue my treatments untill the end of March and hope for the best. I know that with the help of my darling friends on the Prayer Thread and the voice of our Angel, Josh, I will beat this Aplastic Anemia and will survive. I can't wait until the day arrives when I can finally post "I am well"! What a miracle that will be.

Thank you again for this little space I have been given to write my thoughts and feelings.

I bless Josh for being in this world and for giving us so much hope.

IreneK24's picture

Such A Long While Since I Have Written

on February 3, 2004 - 8:55pm

I seems that such a long while has passed since I have written in my journal. I have traversed the highest mountains, it seems, with my health. I have undergone so many treatments. Thses have left me so weak and so lonely. I have fought valiantly with Josh's voice in my ears as I received my transfusions. I have clung to the vords of each song...the beauty of the majesty of healing through his music and all my beloved friends on the Prayer Thread that nanapati started.

I have made such magnificent friends. Ones that have even sent, through Apollo Angel, gifts to cheer me. Nanapati has sent me beautiful gifts to cheer me, Darling Scott Prayers from Ste. Theresa. How luck can one lady get.

I have been saved from taking my own life by the thread and by the magic of the words and prayers that have been said for me.

Josh has given me a home and hope. He has allowed me to open up to beautiful friends that are there for me and that will not allow me to fall.

My treatments are slowing down now and we are working on maintaining the blood count that has become better.

I don't know hoe to thank Josh for the beauty he has brought into my life and the home he has given to me to shelter me from harm.

I hold each day as the last but pray for the next. But within those prayers I also thank that each day brings me here.


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