The Donna G Project

My wife’s friend (Donna G) was diagnosed with breast cancer this past year. She had a mastectomy, treatment, all that – and at this point all results point to a complete recovery.

This summer, at the pool, I got into a conversation with her, and it was one of the best conversations I’ve had in years. We talked all about the experience. She had an invulnerability about her that was tangible. I asked her question after question. She told me about breaking the news to her daughters. She told me about the procedure. I found myself soaking in every word. One thing she said stood out above all.

“When you get that diagnosis, when that earth shifts, suddenly everything is different.”

“Has it shifted back?” I asked.

“I hope it never does.”

I got thinking about that conversation and about that earth shift in particular. And to be honest, I’m jealous. Not of the cancer, of course, but of the perspective. I’m jealous of the forced prioritization. Of the clarity. Of the stillness that Donna possessed as she sat there speaking with me.

Donna G gave me a gift that day. She had gone through physical and emotional devastation and earned wisdom and strength in return for her suffering. And although I had gone through none of the pain, Donna gave me some of her hard-won treasure. She gave it without a second’s hesitation. It was one of the highlights of 2014 for me.

So here is the Donna G project. It is an initiative to fill the off-season that will be a gift to my boys next Christmas. Between now and Opening Day (April 6!), I’m going to write to my boys on the following subjects:

  1. About your mother
  2. About my mother
  3. Driving
  4. Biggest moment of my life
  5. Recipe for Spiedies
  6. Recipe for “Mike Nuckols Yummy Wing Sauce”
  7. Recipe for the “Perfect Home Fries”
  8. On God and goodness
  9. On popularity
  10. On streaking
  11. The official rules for calling shotgun
  12. On fatherhood
  13. On baseball

As a final note, because these posts are so intensely self-indulgent and non-baseball related, I’m only going to leave them up for a few days. The audience is really my boys, anyhow. You readers are just getting caught in the crossfire.

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26 thoughts on “The Donna G Project

  1. Jill Beene

    Hi Mike,
    I just read this and the timing could not be more perfect–thanks for sharing this great story! Miss seeing your face. Happy New Year to you and yours.
    Jill

  2. Bob Gallagher

    Thanks Mike for letting the rest of us in on Donna G’s gift. I look forward to the gifts the project will bring me and all who get to read it! Thanks.
    Bob

  3. Linda Eichengreen

    I appreciate the message of your posting as well as the skillful, touching way you wrote it. This is a point I have personally felt many times in my life and one of the primary messages I try to impress on people I work with as a therapist as well as with my loved ones. You are an amazing, thoughtful person, Mike. I know your mom is smiling!

  4. Jonathan Sauer

    Nicely done buddy. Here are a few more to add to the list—

    -About mediclorians
    -About gamma radiation
    -On whether Thanos is the most powerful man in the galaxy

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  7. Please don’t take down your posts after only a few days – – your piece “About my mother” is BEAUTIFUL, and your explaining Donna G’s wisdom and gifts from cancer (I never thought I’d utter or write that phrase, but your writing really explained it) is educational and inspiring. Your writing is really a gift, and I hope that if you desire it that your writing will grow into something even bigger (perhaps a published book?). You have that rare talent in being able to write with humor and in a way that is engaging, interesting and hooks-the-reader. You explain people’s humanity and flaws in a way that is nonjudgmental and more observational – – in a way that the reader can so clearly envision what you are describing or easily imagines themselves there. You impart lessons without sounding preachy. You truly have a gift. Please share it with the world. I am fan, and I look forward to your future posts.

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