Melissa Hevenor
Sunday September 24 , 2017
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Posts Tagged ‘#Taliaslegacy’

A Dream Come True: The Journey To Meeting Jessie J

Thursday, April 14th, 2016

It’s been such a long time since I felt inspired to blog because my life has consisted predominately of feeling sick, going to the hospital getting treatment and coming back feeling worse during the battle for my life. Even so, overall I’m still a happy person,  I pray a lot, listen to music and use makeup to keep myself sane and inspired. I love all types of music and music has been a part of my life since I was very little in huge way. At age 5 I started taking voice lessons at the YMCA realizing very early when I was singing it didn’t matter that I was in a wheelchair. people saw my heart they didn’t assume that I wasn’t intelligent they didn’t care that couldn’t run across the playground they saw who I really was inside and not differences. Music helped me get through a world wind childhood filled with a sick mother who was a prisoner of multiple addictions. It wasn’t long before I started entering voice competitions to earn money for food and for what I called my  just in case money stash to give me a sense of security to care for me and my sister. Those circumstances put a lot of pressure on me to succeed, instead, of concentrating on that pressure, I made it a game against myself to always keep improving.

Late at night when I couldn’t sleep because I was hungry or because my mom had not returned home I would hold my hand brush in my hand and pretend to be Singing on stage with Whitney Houston as I belted it out “Saving All My Love For You” at eight years old. Whitney Houston was what I strived to be as a Singer. Fast forward to age 17 doing a voice competition in a small theater Washington D.C.I was offered a record deal. With a broken heart I turned it down because I couldn’t imagine leaving my sister and because I was a minor and my mother was too jealous to grant me the permission. My mother also could sing before drugs and alcohol destroyed her voice she could sing along with Barbra Streisand and you absolutely could not tell the difference between her voice and the record. I went into a deep depression for about a year because I wasn’t able to take that opportunity after working so hard. However, I never stopped getting good grades in school because I knew good grades and education was my only chance to do better for myself and my sister. Thank God, I had two Aunts my grandmother’s sisters who wanted me to have the world and showed me what unconditional love was. My aunt encouraged me to join the drama club when I started high school as well as choir because she saw how fearless I was on stage and how much I loved it. She used to say it may not be easy for you to get opportunity to be in front of crowds because of your differences but the world needs to see you on the stage to make a difference on a large-scale. Getting the chance to audition for Tish School of the arts in New York City was amazing and my Aunt  put money aside to save up for the train tickets and the hotel as the audition process was a  two day thing. I did my audition in front of a panel of five faculty I put my whole  heart into it, a full portfolio of how I would Direct a play by Tennessee Williams.
I was devastated when I didn’t get in until at the very last moment a professor came running out who had been on the panel and said, ” please don’t be discouraged your audition was flawless, logistically the school would be very difficult for you to manage with your wheelchair, the buildings are old elevators don’t work and the amounts of snow that we get in the winter. Of course, the rest of the panel will deny this as the reason but I could not put my head down tonight having you think it was because your audition was not good enough. There’s many amazing art schools out there just put your whole heart in that’s what matters. This was the first time I began to understand that my talent may not be enough so I started studying psychology and that’s the direction my life took. I don’t regret it at all because it prepared me for where I am now to use my intuitive/ Mediumship  skills to help people in a therapeutic way. Music was  on the front burner again as I started taking art therapy classes and realizing how much music and writing helped people with healing. Getting accepted into the University of Maryland I wanted to take dance classes as my electives. Of course, the faculty was not happy thinking I would not be able to show my skills so  how would I be graded. This time I wouldn’t take no for an answer because it was just elective classes so I learned dance notation and I could verbally tell the dancers the different routines. At the end the faculty thanked to me saying that the dancers became better dancers having to learn to truly listen to verbal instruction of the choreography.

Working as a student therapist as student Director of the suicide crisis hot line and going to school full-time in my masters program was extremely demanding so to relax at home I would watch YouTube videos of young singers when I came across Jessie J singing Big White Room. I was one of the first 100 views on that video which now has so many but I knew in that moment she would be a massive star. She had edginess of Janis Joplin the elegance of Whitney Houston and and infectious loving quality similar to the energy of Princess Diana even in the very beginning. Eventually I had to have my thyroid removed because it just stopped working once I had that surgery I was unable to sing the same way again we now know the collapse of my thyroid was probably the first sign the rare form of cancer I am now fighting that had not been diagnosed at that time. Jessie J’s passion and talent helped me  through the sadness of not being able to sing the same, even though, I could hear the music the same way and it resonated to my core, I could not reproduce the notes that I heard with the same precision.

In 2010 I lost my job as a counselor due to cutbacks and I live on savings as long as I could. When I finally lost my house in 2012 because I couldn’t make the payments, as I was packing up my belongings Jessie J’s first album who you are was playing in the background. I will never forget praying to God to give me strength and to keep happiness in my heart even through the darkness I was facing much of the time sitting alone parking  my belongings for Storage because my family had gone to heaven. The one person’s voice that was always there in the background was Jessie’s. Thankfully  had amazing friends who helped me a as much as they could but late at night when the tears would flow it was God myself and Jess.

Slowly I began  to build clientele giving intuitive readings something I had done on the side for free just to help people for years. I began to understand this was gods way of getting me on my life’s purpose to really own the gifts he had  given because I’m a very loyal person and otherwise I never would’ve quit my job to follow the path as a spiritual teacher. Having success slowly building my own business with various opportunities to do readings on stage. Most stages are not wheelchair accessible and even though, I was the entertainment often I would have to do the readings or inspirational speaking on the ground or floor in front of the stage rather than on the stage. My preparation to get ready for readings has always been listening to music beforehand, music that usually consists of pop R&B or hip hop and traveling as far as Australia to study mediumship.

The most recent challenge I’ve had to deal with for the last three years is battling cancer thank God for Technology that allows me to do readings worldwide by email or Skype in between treatment on the occasions when I’m feeling halfway normal. As usual whether I’m going into emergency surgery to remove my port because of infection, or going in for treatment Jessie J’s singing through my phone. Hearing her voice sing conquer the world even regulated my heart beat while under anesthesia.

The power of social media and an Earth Angel disguised as a Record label executive colliding with me with the help of another Earth angel who is now in heaven named Talia Castellano who taught me through her YouTube videos how to apply makeup for my public readings and inspirational speaking. Before losing her battle to childhood cancer Talia I became friends and when I was diagnosed with cancer 31/2 years ago she was my counselor even at the young age of 12.  Now I honor her by helping to carry on her legacy and finding a cure for childhood cancer because after going through this myself I’m determined no child should go through it! Working her magic from heaven she helped Jessie’s Record label  follow me and  offer to help me get tickets if JessIe performed in Florida. Not only did I get to go to Universal Studios to see her perform but was granted the opportunity to meet her.

On April 9 with 101 fever the whole night before due to an enlarged spleen from a buildup of cancer cells and an infection and pain as a result of the enlargement. I was unable to leave on the three hour car ride up to Orlando until 1230 in afternoon. After coming up with a pain medication routine and reclining the passenger seat as far back as possible we began on the journey to make the ride to Talia’s house which was about 40 minutes from Universal Studios where the concert would be that evening. Talia’s sister Mattia and mom Desiree have become part of my family and a huge support system during my own Battle with this beast known as cancer. Therefore, I wanted them to join me in this exciting Adventure of meeting Jessie J.  My friend Sandra who is my sister by choice because she’s been with me through everything losing my job losing my house losing my health traveling an hour once a week just to bring food because I couldn’t afford to buy any or because I was too sick to make it myself. Sandra is my very best friend, she knows my heart, she knows my faults, she knows my flaws, she knows my happiness, knows my sadness, she knows my abilities and my disabilities and loves me no matter what.  So she also had to be a part of this is special celebration of life through Jessie’s music.

When we arrived at the house we only have an hour before we had to leave for the concert so we quickly got out of the car and  Mattia did my makeup while Desiree Talia’s mom painted my nails. (Talia’s sister who is an amazing makeup artist like her little sister Taliajoy18 on YouTube. Although, Mattia Joyce who is also on YouTube has her own sense of style, her own sense of humor and a talent all her own while carrying on the beautiful Legacy of her little sister. ) Helping me get glammed up is something that comes very natural for Mattia and Desiree because they continue a program Talia started called Glam Wars where they go into children’s hospitals and give makeovers two little girls going through chemo and face painting to little boys going through chemo to  help them feel more confident and happy during their fight. CoverGirl provides all the makeup for the program Since Talia became an honorary Cover Girl on the Ellen  show.( To find out more about this program please go to taliaslegacy.org)

Rushing out the door we head to Universal Studios arriving early until we realize how long the customer service line was where we were supposed to pick up the passes to go to the concert. Then I find out Jessie was running late. Before long the show was about to start so meeting Jessie was delayed until after the show. I began to worry maybe we would run out of time or maybe it wouldn’t happen that is until, I reminded myself I had asked Talia to send me a sign that she would be with me in spirit. Days earlier I asked her to send me a feather representing one of her Angel feathers. Hours before the concert , Jessie posted on Instagram a picture of a hummingbird made out of paper or  Kleenex  held in someone’s hand but what stood out in the picture was the delicate beautiful feathers that were part of the hummingbird and I knew that was my sign from Talia. I sang my heart out to every song watching Jessie on the big screen because the wheelchair accessible Area was pretty far back. When the song Bang Bang came onI got a text it was the last song to start heading over where we would meet her. So we all rushed over to where we were supposed to meet her before the show. When we got there and there was a young man he said no she’s meeting you somewhere else. We followed the path through the back ways of the park and my heart began to pound as I realized how close I was to meeting her something I wanted to do for years. If I was able to get up from my wheelchair and run I would have at that moment. As we approached Jessie was seated halfway in her rental car in the passenger seat and again my brain started thinking oh she’s ready to leave she’s going to say hi and take off. This was a huge lesson for me because fear allows our mind to create a story that is so different from god’s plan. Jessie stepped out of the car walked over to me and knelt down to be at eye level with me in my wheelchair. I started to cry and I explained to her it wasn’t because she was famous it wasn’t because she was JessieJ, tears were flowing because since my family is in heaven her voice through her music is always there no matter what and to be in front of her for that reason was overwhelming. I gave her a necklace I designed that is a guitar pick that says Jessie your music helps me breathe Friends forever on the front and a music note on the back. I have a matching one that I wear all the time for inspiration and now she would have hers. Then I asked her if I could show her one more thing? Jessie replied of course you can! I apologized because I told her it was 17 minutes long, I wrote a poem using all her song titles from each of her three albums and made a video of it on YouTube. (I wrote it when I was very sick in the hospital in intensive care and the nurse told me I should be resting, it was a waste of time because Jessie would never see it. My dream was for Jessie to see the poem because I have an easier time expressing myself through writing and the poem embodied everything I wanted to say to her. Jessie sat on the ground held my hand and watched the entire thing as the tears just ran down my face as a result of the happiness that was overflowing from my heart and had to come out through my eyes. Then Jessie and I made a video that I will show the nurse tomorrow when I go to the hospital for chemo. Jessie and I had fun saying she did indeed see the poem. I showed Jessie my tattoo and explained why I have tattoos, and that the other person tattooed on my arm is Talia. Jessie said she knew who Talia was and had followed her story. This was the perfect opportunity to introduce her to Desiree and Mattia and explain why I’m so passionate about childhood cancer, since seven children die a day from childhood cancer, 46 children are diagnosed every day with childhood cancer and it is the leading cause of death for children under the age of 15 in the United States. Sadly, childhood cancer still receives the least amount of funding to find a cure getting only 4% the cancer research money to understand how pediatric cancer forms differently and come up with treatment options specific to treating childhood cancer.  Gold is the color for childhood cancer and September is childhood cancer awareness month so I gave Jessie a fuck cancer beanie with gold writing as well as shared some other ideas on how to bring awareness to pediatric cancer. I told her some secrets like who I have a crush on, I shared other private thoughts and moments for her to carry in her heart for inspiration. I wanted our time together to be one where I could give  back to her, the best of myself through writing, encouragement, laughter. and inspiration. I knew Jesse J was a special person because I can see peoples energy but she goes above and beyond she was severely jetlagged wasn’t feeling well and still made time to do a Make-A-Wish meet and greet before the concert and spent over an hour with me after the concert. I jokingly told her I was so relieved she was nice because I wouldn’t have to get my tattoo removed.

She took pictures with all of us and even invited me to see her in Miami perform so she could sing bald girls instead of bad girls in this song Bang bang! Jessie’s team was trying to arrange to get me onstage with Jess, but as usual the stage was not wheelchair accessible. It  needs to become a priority that all stages become accessible because as long as they are not there is an unspoken message silently screaming that people in wheelchairs or with differences do not belong on the stage or a  platform to be heard. I completely understand because I’ve dealt with this my whole life.  Maybe now that Jessie’s team asked for someone in a wheelchair  to be on stage it will start a small ripple that will change this unspoken discrimination. Jessie being the earth angel that she is, kept her word, I just got back from the Miami concert last night and she absolutely did sing bald girls during bang bang as well as, took the time to give me one more  hug, reassure me that she has my necklace, Tell me she loved me. And made sure Sandra and I we’re all set to get home with the chauffeur her amazing manager Cez arranged when he found out I didn’t have a car to get there. Jessie’s entire team is amazing Alisha, Jessie’s hairstylist waited patiently in the car while Jessie and I hung out. Jessie’s manager Cez made sure everything fell into place with perfection and smiled with joy as I met Jessie. They are all kindhearted legends who’s shoulders Jessie stands on to spread hope, love, empowerment, fun, and realism with the world.  Jessie and her entire team hold a special place in my heart until I see them again and one day I dream of writing a song or working on a creative project with Jessie in person or in spirit however God sees fit. I love you Jessie, Cez and Alisha forever sending you  multitudes of gratitude and carry all you in my heart.

Marching in Search of a Cure while Finding Magic

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

While the month of March is known for the luck of the Irish, I found this March to be the luck of a lifetime. On March 16, one of my best friends, Sandra, and I headed to Orlando, Florida, to visit my friends, who are now more like family, the Castellanos. Sandra and I enjoyed the scenic drive as I told her more about Talia Joy Castellano, the sweet little angel who touched my life as I was in search of make-up tutorials, to prepare me for a large stage event. Little did I know, I would click onto a video, connecting me to a then-little girl, who would forever have a place in my heart. When Talia and I first began communicating, it was strictly about eyeliner, eyeshadow brushes, drugstore make-up vs. high-end,and things of that nature. Over time, she taught me not only about make-up, but also about life itself. In fact, as it would turn out, some of the greatest spiritual and life lessons that I live by today, were first imparted to me by taliajoy18, a make-up guru, who was in fact a spiritual guru, whether she knew it or not. Over the course of two and a half years, she taught me how to blend make-up, but also how to be proud of yourself. one of the greatest lessons we all go through is self-acceptance, and while Talia’a self-acceptance grew from battling a horrible monster known as neuroblastoma, not only did she learn to accept herself, but she also used Youtube and social media to shine like a sparkly diamond, spreading her light like a prism, embracing all colors, ethnic backgrounds and spiritual beliefs, through make-up.

I found it difficult to write this blog, because it is so hard to articulate in words the essence and beauty of Talia and her message. Then, this afternoon, I went with another best friend, to see Disney’s new version of Cinderella. That movie, in its humor, beauty and cryptic messages, gave me the inspiration to sit down and write this blog. The movie, Cinderella, addressed the lesson of self-expression and self-acceptance, and a light bulb came on in my head. Talia not only found acceptance in her circumstances, but also was able to rise above them, finding acceptance and spreading kindness. Kindness was also a repeated theme throughout Cinderella’s story, and the final ingredient in the happily ever after fairy tale was magic. Talia found her magic through make-up. In this life that we live, magic doesn’t obviously come in a bottle labeled “fairy dust.” Magic is something we have to find within ourselves and share it, through a passion that makes us happy and feel love towards ourself. Without self-love, we can not fully express who we are , and without full expression, we can not give the best of ourselves.. Therefore, because my trip to Orlando was to honor such a special person, who found her own magic, the trip itself was magical.
As we pulled up to the house, I was nervous. I wasn’t even sure why i was nervous. Perhaps, in part because of anticipation. Perhaps, in part because Talia and I had talked about me coming to visit her, several times before she passed.  Or, perhaps because I didn’t want the trip to end and I knew the minute I entered the house, the end was closer. As soon as you enter the house, you feel so much love and you understand how Talia was so extraordinary. she could not have been as confident, as talented or inspiring, if she did not have the amazing foundation of her mother, her sister and her stepfather’s shoulders to stand on. I felt as though i had been in the house so many times, recognizing all the different areas where Talia had done series
of videos. I also felt like I was coming home because Desiree, Talia’s mom had been waiting for us, and there was a delicious plate of food, with our names on them! The trip also brought up emotions for me because it had been such a long time since felt like I belonged. As we enjoyed the food, we heard stories about Talia and shared about ourselves to get to know each other even better. But, the one common factor is that we each love Talia and she had been the one who brought all of us together.
When I entered, her bedroom, I felt as though any minute she would run through the door. Her bedroom is beautiful and captures her essence perfectly, filled with tribute paintings, and portraits and, of course, and certainly not least, her make-up. the next day, as we prepared for the march, an annual fundraiser to raise money for Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital, where Talia was treated, I felt Talia with us every second as I put on my make-up, and sure enough, during a conversation about tweezers, one of Talia’s pictures fell over, a sure sign that she agreed with what we were talking about. I had planned to walk with my walker during part of the walk, but was unable to, because the pathway was too uneven, which meant that it was a team effort to push me over the course of the march. Sometimes, it was two people at once, sometimes it was Desiree who was quite familiar with a wheelchair, and sometimes it was a nice handsome gentleman, and other times, it was old and new friends lending a hand, to make sure that this member of Talia’s team was not left behind.
After the march, a group of us went to Talia’s gravesite. I have to say her headstone is by far, the most beautiful headstone I have ever seen, and it completely exemplifies what Talia was and still is. Also, there is a beautiful tree that stands guard closely to what feels like a private sanctuary. You feel nothing but peace and serenity there. I, once again, found myself emotional, not because we were at a cemetery, because as a medium, I know that Talia’s spirit is not there, but because the headstone and foot stone are so beautiful and Desiree and Mattia work endlessly to honor Talia’s memory and carry on her legacy. It made me realize how blessed she is to have such an amazing family. One can only hope, no matter how far in the future, that they are loved to such an extent that he/she is memorialized in such a way. And that brought emotions because they bring the existence of unconditional love to life. I also felt an amazing connection with the other people who were part of the team and went to the cemetery, as we all sat with our heads bowed, talking or connecting as our “No Fear, Just Faith” T-shirts were lined up around Talia’s tombstone.
After spending time there, we all went together for dinner at Talia’s favorite sushi restaurant, ordering some of her favorites. Once again, I felt her spirit as we laughed and shared stories about her extraordinary life. I also felt a huge connection with Talia’s dog, Bella. She was filled with excitement, so much love and personality. She was definitely meant to be Talia’s dog, and wanted to be in the center of everything. Just like her mother, she is tiny, but feisty. I thought I loved and respected Talia before this trip, but now the respect and love I have for her is everlasting. Her strength, happiness and talents far exceed those of most individuals twice her age. I will continue to support Talia, her legacy, and her family, until the day that the words, “childhood cancer is cured,” can be read in medical journals and shared worldwide. Until then and beyond, Talia’s Legacy will march on with a shining, magical make-up angel leading the way.

Talia’s Birthday Tribute - a Journey of Love

Thursday, August 22nd, 2013

For weeks, I have been working hard to make money and get things done so that I could take  the weekend off, to attend Talia Joy Castellano’s tribute. I first discovered Talia, after  one of my dear friends did my make-up at a spiritual conference, and I wanted to learn how to put make-up on more expertly, so another friend recommended I watch make-up tutorial videos on YouTube. I now know, certainly, not by accident, I found Talia’s YouTube channel She was a spunky, full-of-life, talented make-up guru and she was only 12 years old at the time. Before long, I connected with her through various social media platforms, and we communicated and I became a fan/friend of Talia’s over the Internet. She not only taught me about how to apply make-up from watching her videos, but she taught me how to be strong in the face of life’s challenges and to count your blessings, no matter what you’re facing. Talia also bravely shared her difficult battle with cancer very openly in her vlogs. I Always drew strength from her happy, bubbly personality and wise outlook. In life, I faced many a challenge, thinking what would Talia do or say. Over time, Talia’s health declined, but her personality and flair for life never faltered. I prayed for her and her family daily, and sent encouraging messages, while she spent large amounts of time in the hospital, fighting two forms of childhood cancers. Being that she only lived about 3 hours from me, I had always hoped to meet her in person, and I’m sure we would have, if given the chance. About two weeks before Talia’s passing, I began to send distant healing and prayers as much as I could, and as often as I could. Sometimes as a healer and a spiritual worker, I have to accept that healing does not always mean curative measures, but sending love and peace to the person to aid in whatever way G-d sees fit. It touched my heart deeply when Jamie, “the psychic,” host of the radio show, Cosmic Caffeine, was given the chance to do hands-on healing with Talia and her family in the hospital. Serving as an instrument that allowed G-d to work through her, Jamie provided pain relief and peace to beautiful Talia. Through G-d’s grace, Talia’s loved ones were granted precious time with Talia, while she was awake and alert, that they might not have been given if Talia, her family and Jamie, had not been so open, loving and ready to do whatever needed to be done, to allow G-d’s love to help her. That is a beautiful example of how free will comes into play. G-d is always there to help and love us, but the choices we make impact our complete acceptance and accessibility of that divine intervention. At 2 a.m., on July 16, I was awakened form a deep sleep, by my guide, Robin, who said, “Talia is transitioning.” I had  never sent healing to anyone transitioning from their physical into their spiritual form from a distance, so I didn’t know what to do, and my heart ached from the thought of not seeing another video or communicating with Talia over social media again, but as a light worker, I have taken an unspoken vow to use my life as a vehicle to spread and carry G-d’s love, serving the divine above all else. This sense of duty is often difficult, because my earthly human self has wishes, desires, and wants that do not always correlate with what is best for the highest good. This was certainly one of those times. My human heart wanted Talia to be here more than anything, so I gave myself a few minutes to grieve and accept that this was probably not going to be the case, and then took a deep breath, pulled myself together, gathered my favorite crystals, cleansed them and formed them in the shape of  a heart on the bed beside me.  Then, I said aloud,”Okay, I  am here to serve whatever G-d’s plans are and whatever Talia needs right in this moment. Please help me to be of service.” I closed my eyes and visualized Talia on her bed. The next thing I saw was myself floating above her, and then rolling out like a blanket, green light over her, beginning at her feet, going up to her shoulders. I also noticed I was taking slow, deep breaths, and, for a few minutes it even felt like, somehow, I was helping her breathe, like remotely using my lung capacity to even out her breathing. My guide, Robin, then told me to call in Archangel Raphael, the angel of healing, and visualize placing my hand intuitively where I felt she needed assistance, to ease pain or bring comfort. I visualized one hand placed gently on her stomach and the other hand over the heart, sending as much love and positive energy that I could. I did this for about a half-hour, and then my guide said, “Say a prayer.” I bowed my head, sitting up on my bed, hands folded and said, “Dear G-d, in heaven, I’m here to help as you know, and as a spiritual person, I know you always have a plan. If there’s any way that those plans can change, so that beautiful Talia can stay here on earth, and finish more of her dreams, I will be eternally grateful and help in any way I can, to serve you more completely. If that is not possible, please ease her pain and give her a special place in heaven. I vow, to you, and to her, that I will spend the rest of my life helping to educate about childhood cancer, and supporting Talia and her family in any way that I can. Eternally yours, Melissa.” Then, I placed my hand on my heart, and imagined sending out as much pink and white light as possible into my hand, and closed my eyes to visualize Talia placing that same hand where her heart would be. Tears began to fall, and I intuitively knew, with deep sadness, that her time here on earth was coming to an end. It took me a good 45 minutes to go back to sleep. I woke up at 11 a.m. Because my first appointment of the day was not until later, and at 12 noon, I saw the post that Talia had gotten her wings at 11:22 that same morning. Even knowing hours before that it was going to happen, I was deeply saddened, and reached out to her family on social media, giving as much support, love and prayers as possible. The family soon announced that there would be a public tribute to celebrate her life in Orlando. I wanted so much to go and be a part of it, to honor Talia and embrace her beautiful family. Unfortunately, traveling for me takes more planning and money than it does for most, even if the destination is a simple 3 & 1/2 hour car ride. Unable to drive, I need someone to do the driving and in order to travel long distances, I am most comfortable and do so most easily with my electric wheelchair. If I have the luxury of bringing my electric wheelchair, that involves securing a van with an automatic ramp that my wheelchair can securely travel in, and renting a wheelchair-accessible van is very expensive, typically over $100/day, plus mileage once surpassing whatever the allowed miles. The tribute was starting at 7:30 and lasting until 10:30 at night, so I knew most likely, we would need to pay for one night at a hotel. Therefore, a simple 24-hour trip can easily run hundreds of dollars! Which isn’t that much of an issue when there’s time to set money aside, but even working extra hours and cutting corners, I was unsure if I would be able to manage it, so I surrendered to Spirit and asked the angels to help me. Help me, they did indeed! One of my soul sisters Lisa Came to visit, and because we are so close, she knew I was sad over Talia’s passing. To my heart’s delight, she and some other close friends rallied together, to help me get there. The experience was truly amazing.

When my friend, Becky, went to pick up the van, the one they had available was brand new and a beautiful gold color, with the word “Star” written across one of the windows. We were going in style for Talia. Arriving in Orlando, we decided to have lunch at a restaurant in Disney’s Marketplace. The restaurant we chose was called “the T-Rex.” It was awesome. Once again, Talia gave us a huge sign that she was with us. The parking  lot was filled and, within minutes, we got the best parking spot. Then, we put our name in for our table, and I had to use the rest room, so our table was given away. The hostess then explained that we would no longer be sitting in the Ice Age (the restaurant is divided into historical, geographical eras); we had been move to the Coral Reef area. In this section of the restaurant, there was a massive tropical fish tank, with hundreds of fish, Ike clownfish and, of course, fish that looked like Dori, who is known to say, like Talia, “just keep swimming.” In fact, we were seated directly in front of the tank, and moments later, a little girl went up to the tank and said, “Look. It’s Dori! Just keep swimming.” So, once again, we knew Talia was there with us. We enjoyed our lunch and then celebrated Talia’s 14th birthday, by ordering a huge chocolate cake with ice cream, called the chocolate Extinction, complete with a volcano that smoked. It was sinfully massive and amazing. We had plenty to take back to the hotel! Lunch was such an event that we had very little time to get back to the hotel and change for the tribute. Just for Talia, I brought almost all my make-up and, thankfully, learning some of her trade secrets on You Tube, the make-up was both fun and pretty seamless. I wore a baby blue top, and a  matching skirt with baby blue embroidery, because blue was Talia’s favorite color. Upon arriving to the event, there were tons of news crews, traffic controllers, and you could feel the magic and tension in the air, all at the same time. Entering the church was like entering a Red Carpet event. As soon as you walked through the doors of the main Lobby, there were velvet ropes blocking off an area that had life-size cut-outs of Talia in her edgy, stylish fashion and a montaged backdrop with images of her glamorous eyes and her name. It indeed felt like Hollywood, honoring Talia. Then, once again, I’ m sure Talia assisted in helping me get a spot in the auditorium where I could see everything, but where I also had privacy to share in the event with my friend, Becky, and say my goodbyes to sweet Talia. On every large  screen, there were videos and photographs of Talia, beginning at birth and chronologically documenting her personality and her journey with cancer. The whole event was amazing, but the highlights for me were hearing her big sister,Mattia Joyce Castellano, sing “Dancing in the Sky” with her best friend, by Danni & Lizzy. If you’ve never heard that song, check it out on You Tube, as it captures the feelings experienced when someone you love dearly is now in heaven. Truly perfect song to dedicate to Talia. The other highlight included watching Talia’s best friend, Sheridan, perform a modern dance to the song, “NoDay but Today” from Rent. Elegant, exquisite and deeply moving are the only ways to describe it. Towards the end of the event, it was complete with a fashion show and, as the pastor stated in the beginning, I think Talia is one of the only people who would have a memorial so hip and special that it included a fashion show of her personal designs, with the help of Urbana Chappa. The collection is called Bald Chick Collection, and trust me when I say, the designs are edgy and hip. At the end, one of the most moving moments was hearing Desiree, Talia and Mattia’s mom, speak, and asking everyone to sing, “HappyBirthday” to Talia, which we did. Then, at the very end, if there were anyone left in the auditorium who had not shed a tear, this was the deal breaker. Talia’s stepfather spoke about Desiree’s endless support of Talia and credited her with being an earth angel. You could feel his love for these girls. They even served little chocolate cupcakes with pink pearls on top. Absolutely perfect for Princess Talia! I made my way to Talia’s sister, Mattia, and she immediately knew who I was. I thanked her for sharing her sister with the world, myself included, told her how much she and Talia meant to me and promised to help in any way I can, fight childhood cancer and carry on Talia’s legacy. Knowing that Mattia felt my same sense of loss, but 10,000 times more deeply, it was hard to hold back tears when speaking to her. It was a total honor. She was mature, sophisticated and represented Talia beautifully. We took a photograph together and then I  went to her mother. Desiree knelt down beside my Chair and listened intently to everything I had to say, completely present and she radiated love every moment. We embraced and also took pictures, and I promised her as well, that I would continue to carry all of them in my heart and help be part of Team Talia forever. I feel more peace since being able to attend the tribute and there are so many dreams Desiree and Mattia will carry on for Talia in her name and I want to be a part of everything. They gave me permission to write this blog and I want to thank Lisa, Becky, Jennifer, Sandra, Mattia, Desiree, and last but not least, everyone’s angel, mine included, Talia Joy Castellano.