Lately, I have been lost. My mentor and professor has brain cancer. She was diagnosed 7 weeks ago and since then, I have been lost. There are no words to describe my pain. She is the most brilliant person I will ever know. Her brain is her beauty. For the past seven weeks, I have had the opportunity to be with her and to learn more from her. As she slips away into her mind, I try to capture as much as I can. There are not enough moments or times to share the admiration and gratitude I have towards her. Nancy Newton saved my life! I met this beautiful woman 11 years ago. I was young, green, and too excited about life. She taught me about balance, about dignity, about how to be a better person. When I lost my brother to violence, I was dead inside, I was empty, and she stood in front of the board of education at my university and fought for me. She pushed for me to stay in classes and finish my doctorate, she coached me, and she loved me when I was disgusted with myself. She gave me the ability to present in front of a large audience and make a difference. She taught me to use my energy and stories to impact lives. The amount of training and knowledge that this woman has given me has propelled my career and enriched my life.
She is no longer able to see the beauty she is leaving on this world. She is no longer able to read the quotes she shared with me, but it is my duty to share with you her words of wisdom.
- Life is not fair, it is beautiful. That is my favorite quote from her. It represents her life and how this is totally messed up and not fair. Cancer could have taken her liver, taken her limbs, but no, instead, cancer took her brain. It is not fair, but I truly cherish the time I got, the time I learned, and the time I spent with her. All of these moments were beautiful.
- You need to take care of yourself because no one else will. Which is true! Building a business, I had so many difficult decisions to make that impacted so many lives that if I didn't take care of me, I could not be there for others.
- When you fail, think about it as a learning opportunity and keep going. I have failed, fallen, and slapped my face on the pavement. Each time, I get up and I try something new.
- Create a sphere of influence around you. Build a supportive environment where you can be authentic. She taught me to really build a strong support system and ask for help.
- Stop trying to prove yourself to your critical voice. I spent so much time trying to prove to my critical voice that my company was worth it, that I almost forgot what I was fighting for. Believe in yourself and push to follow what drives you.
- Don't try to save the world, make a small difference everyday. She shared with me when you focus on saving the world, you missed opportunities to make a difference in your daily life.
- Be mindful and present. That was my hardest one to conquer. She showed me how to meditate and relax right before I went on stage. She taught me to streamline my thoughts and to speak to my audience.
- For you to be heard, you need to start listening. Nancy gave me this skill to actively listen and be compassionate without making it my own issue. She showed me how to share my beliefs along with listening to others and understanding their perspectives. I now listen without a responses, without judgement, and with one big open heart.
Overall, Nancy changed my life. I am her prodigy. I live her mottos and share my knowledge, so she will never be forgotten. I am in pain, I hurt, but I am here for her. She will leave a legacy on this world, and I want to share her voice. When my brother died, I finally went back to school, one evening during her class, I slipped to the bathroom and lost it. I was crying and shaking on the floor. I had no control. I was mourning. She picked me up and said: "Oh Kortney, life is not fair, it is beautiful." Her embrace, her love, and her brilliant brain saved my life. Now, I dedicate my words to my mentor, my friend, my professor, Nancy Newton. You will never be forgotten, you will always be loved, and I will share the knowledge you passed on to me.
Until Next Time...
Be Brave*Be Strong* Be a Bulldog
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Filed under: Letters to My Daughter