Kerry Sees Lady Gaga

November 7, 2017

Sometimes, the universe works in harmony to make good things happen. And when there is a flow of events that lead to such a good thing, you just know that it was meant to be. This is a story of harmony, positivity, and love in my current scary, icky health situation. Sometimes life just feels overwhelmingly terrible, but not this weekend, thanks to a whole lot of people.

It was June 21st. The beginning of summer. To welcome the long-awaited season, friends Mindi and Tom invited me to join them and their daughter at the Silo Solstice celebration. It was a lovely afternoon where the kids played and the adults sat at a picnic table sipping yummy Vermont cocktails and catching up on life’s details. To my surprise, a second favorite family of mine came along and joined us. It was especially nice to see them, as they are in the process of moving.

Before their move became a reality, Anna had bought tickets for her and Rob to go to see Michael Franti and Spearhead – a band I’ve always intended to see and have never managed to get to – the following day. Rob could no longer attend, and Anna didn’t want to go alone. As we chatted, it became clear that I was an excellent candidate to join her at the Franti show!

At the concert, Michael spoke of a friend fighting cancer. It was obviously a moment I connected deeply with, after a year of fighting colon cancer and a recent “downgrade” of my prognosis. With tears in my eyes, I listened as he told us of the charity that he and his wife were inspired to start as they watched their friend fight the battle of his life. Knowing full well the healing and energizing power of music, they established Do It For The Love (www.doitforthelove.org). “Through Do It For The Love our hope is to provide the opportunity for healing to take place, families to bond, and for lifelong memories to be made – all through the experience of live music.”

He explained that DIFTL was created to grant live-music wishes to people of all ages with terminal illnesses. And I thought to myself, “Hey, I have a terminal illness!” I went home and asked my friend Nikki to nominate me and take me to the concert of my choice. The next step was to have my oncologist sign a paper stating that, yes, I indeed am terminal. Step three: fill out the paper stating who I wanted to see and how many tickets (up to 4) I would need.

A couple of weeks later, FedEx dropped off an envelope, and all of a sudden, I was going to see Lady Gaga. Squeeee!

On Friday, September 1st, we loaded up the car and headed to the hotel, which DIFTL had arranged for us. We had a drink, got ourselves dressed, made-up, and bedazzled. “Fun” was the name of the game for this particular night. All gussied up, we headed to dinner and the show.

The entire concert was memorable, but there is one part that I will never forget. Lady Gaga sat down at her piano and began to tell a story about her friend and the manager of her tours, Sonja. Sonja died in May after a fierce battle with breast cancer. She wrote this of her friend and said a lot of it to us as she sat there at that piano: “The other feeling I have is that of being robbed of the last 10 years of my life, friendship and career with her. Like someone took her from us, and with that taking took all the good times. I know that’s not true, and I know that I have those memories forever, I’m just in shock that I will never have new ones with her. I’m in shock that I won’t see her again until I pass too. I vow to be a little stronger everyday for her because that’s what she would have wanted, I vow to be stronger for anyone who’s lost somebody to cancer. I’m a part of that family now. I vow to be a warrior for her and be a voice for cancer patients so the world can continue to improve the dialogue and the fight. I loved her. I still love her.”

As our tears began to flow, thinking about the time someday in the future that this story becomes our story, she began to play and sing. “It’s time to feel the rush to push the dangerous; I’m gonna run right to, to the edge with you; Where we’ll both fall far in love; I’m on the edge of glory and I’m hanging on a moment of truth; I’m on the edge of glory and I’m hanging on a moment with you… I’m on the edge of something final we call life tonight alright, alright” When it began, I was sitting on the end of our group, but by the end, I was surrounded by my people, holding my hand and caressing my shoulders. It was awful and beautiful… so reflective of this entire experience for me. I’m grateful to Lady Gaga for wrapping up in words and music the beauty of the friendships and the sadness of the disease.

I offer my deepest thanks to Do It For The Love, without whom this adventure would never have taken place. Michael Franti’s spirit of love and positivity was paid forever forward with this gift. Did healing take place? Did my family of caretakers bond? Were lifelong memories made? Yes, yes, and so much yes! Mission accomplished, Mr. and Mrs. Franti. I hope that more people will find, support, and nominate deserving friends for this very special program. Life is a gift, and when people lift you up to help you live your very best life, that gift grows exponentially.