How I see It

It’s been a while since I wrote to you guys without feeling like a piece of me wasn’t missing. I’ve been holding myself back. Keeping all the things I truly feel hidden where I only show the few folks that don’t mind being brought down with me. Honestly, I’ve been afraid to share the negative, scary, life-changing thoughts that pop up on me these days. I’ve been afraid of what I’ll write.

Terrible way to start out a blog, but I want to tell you the truth. Today I am back. And all you’re going to get is honesty from me.

Did you know I started at Matilda Jane as a packer on September 1st 2008? I was a bright eyed 19 year old that walked into the office/cutting-ironing-folding-room at Fairfield manor like “a ball of sunshine.” Denise’s words, not mine. I think of myself more as a tornado? But that’s because I tend to mess up everywhere I go. But she always has a way of seeing the best in people, doesn’t she?

I remember my first week packing orders in that tiny packing room AKA dining room in a one bedroom apartment. I remember meeting Chris and Becky and loving that these two adults thought I was funny. And Chris wanted to take me to American Idol. And Becky bought me this Mary-Kate and Ashley book for my first MJC Birthday. Oh, and I remember the smell of that place. I still can’t smell cinnamon without thinking of Fairfield Manor.

It was a quick 5 months at Fairfield Manor for me and off we were moving into the brick building we all know and love as “435.”

435 is where everything came to life for me. Or fell into place. Or exploded with love? I never fit in somewhere like I did at Matilda Jane. I found myself in the fabrics, the people, the jokes, and the culture.

It took a while for me to get to know Denise since she tended to work at night (like a little elf in her workshop), but you could feel her presence everywhere. The only thing I was REALLY surprised by when we did finally work together was how funny she is!! And nice. But niceness doesn’t tend to surprise me, it’s kinda something I expect in people more than I should maybe.

I remember the first time she looked across the cutting table at me and said “I think you’re smart.”  That might have been the most powerful sentence she could have said to me. That might be the reason I’m still here at this unpredictable company today. And that’s all it took. You never know the impact your words can make on someone. I knew then I would never want to let this lady down. I would work hard to always ensure that when she thought of Sam McDonald it was “Dang, she’s smart.”

Now that friend, boss, sister, hero, mentor of mine is sick. I hate even writing it. And I hate telling you how many times I’ve wanted to break and stop working, living, smiling, sleeping, eating, etc., because of it. The week before Art Fair I thought “This is it, Sam. You can’t do this alone.” But instead of falling, I stood stronger than I ever have. Along with the desire to breakdown, I had more passion than ever before to do Matilda Jane proud. To do DENISE proud.

There’s not much I can do for Denise that others aren’t already doing. She’s been lifted and surrounded by your love. She’s had her best friends and favorite people visit her in Houston. And she’s being taken care of by some of the best doctors in the country! So what could I really do for her that they aren’t already doing? It’s hard. It’s hard being so far away from someone you’ve had a phenomenal connection to for the past 3 1/2 years.

Well, to be honest, I knew what I was going to do but Denise said no. She flat out told me the next day after her first surgery that I could not shave my head if she lost her hair. Then two weeks later I say it again and she says no. And then a week after that she says I can cut 6 inches. (She’s bossy, huh?!) That’s all I needed to hear! After work one day I walked up to my mirror and started chopping. First 8 inches, then 2 more, then 3 more… And finally I had a short bob that made me look “put together” or so I’ve been told. (Oddly enough I didn’t like hearing that!! ha!)

At that point I knew I was going to shave my head. She might not have, but I did. There’s no way I was cutting off all my hair for a bob, I was cutting off all my hair so that I could show her I CAN DO THIS. I can do this WITH YOU. It’s the only part of  this new journey I feel like I could share with her. It was never a thought in my head that I wasn’t going to do it.

And that brings me to the fact that shaving my head yesterday morning was almost a selfish act for me. As much as I did it for Denise, I did it for myself too. So that I could feel closer to her. I’ve never missed someone so much. I miss her presence. I know we all do.

I’m glad to say I’ll be visiting Denise in Houston at the end of this week. Actually Kayla and I both are making the trip! I couldn’t be more excited. All I wanna do is sit on a couch with her. That’s something we never do!! But it’s all I want. The simplest thing with one of my most complicated counterparts. I’ll be sure to let you know how amazing our week is! I can hardly wait.

And here’s something you won’t see everyday, a stunning photo of Denise with her new ‘do’ too! I LOVE IT.

Love,

Sam

 

     
Jennifer Valsted - August 20, 2013 - 12:15 pm

Such an amazing blog read, Sam!!!! You and Denise both look so beautiful with your newly shaved heads!!! I love that you did this to show your support for Denise. You ladies are always in our thoughts these days!!!

Leslie Click - August 20, 2013 - 12:19 pm

WOW. all choked up now- you both are beautiful!:) What a statement Sam:)

Nicole Korensky - August 20, 2013 - 12:21 pm

Wow Sam, you truly are amazing! So brave! I was always jealous of your thick, long locks…so for you to chop it all for Denise is truly just AWESOME! Denise is a wonderful lady-so full of spirit and great sense of humor. I’m praying for her everyday!

Marcy Schneider Hoffman - August 20, 2013 - 12:21 pm

OMG, I am bawling! I love you two, and we have never officially met. ((super puffy heart love you!))

Tracie Royer - August 20, 2013 - 12:23 pm

While Denise has shown us strength, perseverance and how to maintain a healthy positive attitude no matter what life brings you….you Sam are showing the meaning of love and friendship. My heart ached for you as I read your blog. I could feel the love you have for Denise and the pain you feel having a friend fighting cancer. All of your loyal Matilda Jane customers are in this fight with Denise, her family, you and all her coworkers and friends. Stay strong :)

jamie hicks - August 20, 2013 - 12:31 pm

Sam, I loves you! I remember first meeting you at art fair one and having to go up to you and tell you how beautiful you are. Then seeing you with ady the next day and chatting i realized that beauty was shining from within you. You are a special person, as is Denise! Give her a hue hug from me and my kiddos!!!!!!!

JenniferS - August 20, 2013 - 12:31 pm

Sam, I can feel the emotion in your message…..I am as moved by reading this insert as I am by reading what Denise writes about her journey. You two do have a special bond and I have watched your relationship with her blossom. I have also wondered how you are handling all of this and now I know. Thank you for sharing. You are smart! AND brave and I pray for you and your special friend. Enjoy your visit to Houston.

Maria nelson - August 20, 2013 - 12:32 pm

You ladies are sooooo beautiful! Love it!

Danielle - August 20, 2013 - 12:33 pm

Sam- What an incredible bond you and Denise must have and to support your not only friend but “sister” is amazing. I am sure that Denise is touched by your commitment to her and wanting to experience and embrace with her what you can is touching. You are such a kind person and as I would call you “a gentle soul”. A true Gentle Soul Sam.

Sarah - August 20, 2013 - 12:33 pm

You are so gorgeous inside and out. What an amazing friend you are! So nice to read stories like this. Way to go!

Christy Campbell - August 20, 2013 - 12:34 pm

Beautiful ladies inside and out!!! This blog was very touching Sam! Brings back memories of my mom when she went through chemo and lost her hair!! What you did was so sweet and I love that you said it brought you closer to Denise I can’t imagine how much you all miss her!! You both look beautiful <3

Lil - August 20, 2013 - 12:35 pm

I’ve always loved you Sam. Sitting here leaking as a read this. You both are beautiful beyond measure. Thanks for sharing & making my heart grow more & more.

Melissa Knieriem - August 20, 2013 - 12:35 pm

Sam…you.are.awesome.
An inspiration unto yourself!
Keep smiling girl!
The world is more beautiful because of you!
Xo

Brenda Bell - August 20, 2013 - 12:36 pm

In tears as I read this…Sam you did what I would have done if my mother had lost her hair during her battle with the nasty disease cancer. I know that Denise loves your for it, and pass on hugs to her when you seen her.

Paula Creekmore - August 20, 2013 - 12:39 pm

Oh My sweet Goodness!! Simply amazing, you both are amazing women, you both look beautiful, what an amazing friendship to have!

Beth K - August 20, 2013 - 12:41 pm

You ladies are amazing

Kristina - August 20, 2013 - 12:46 pm

You are Big.
You are Bold.
You are Brave.
You are Blessed.

Friendship is such a beautiful thing to behold. I wish you many hours, many days, many years of couch sitting, hand holding and movie watching.

Holly V - August 20, 2013 - 12:53 pm

Amazing way to show your love for someone…you are both amazing women and both of you look beautiful!!!

Candice Dancer - August 20, 2013 - 12:54 pm

So touching, so honest, so candid. Thanks for sharing. Many healing thoughts to Denise.

Amy McKay - August 20, 2013 - 12:56 pm

Such an amazing display of love and support! Happy tears :’)

Lisa Rapo - August 20, 2013 - 1:03 pm

Absolutely beautiful and touching Sam! Tears are streaming down my face…love your heart!

Stacie Petta - August 20, 2013 - 1:07 pm

Both of you have such pretty faces and the hair cut just makes them SHINE!!

Erica S - August 20, 2013 - 1:08 pm

I was too shy to introduce myself to any of you at Art Fair. It was like meeting rock stars in person. I think I even blushed as I was checking out of the tent. Your blog confirmed it. You are rock stars! Your gesture is so heartfelt and touching. All of you at Matilda Jane are amazing. You and Denise look so beautiful!

My friend and I were on our morning walk today and our entire conversation was about cutting hair for Locks of Love and scheduling screenings. Thank you. Thank Denise. Thank all of you at Matilda Jane for being so open and honest about something so raw and personal. Sending our love and prayers your way!

Michelle - August 20, 2013 - 1:16 pm

Just amazing.

Gran - August 20, 2013 - 1:17 pm

Oh my goodness this is a time when there are no words and I so wish I were right there to hug, hug, hug.

Lesley Lee - August 20, 2013 - 1:17 pm

Simply amazing!! True meaning of awesomeness… Both of you!!

Kelly Franz - August 20, 2013 - 1:18 pm

Wow what a beautiful blog. Thank you for sharing such a personal account of your love and appreciation for Denise. It is amazing to read how much those words, “I think you are smart” meant to you. It really makes you sit back and consider what you say to people and hope that our words will lift someone up like hers did to you. Enjoy your time with Denise this weekend!

Mama Hope - August 20, 2013 - 1:27 pm

No words. Sitting here bawling my eyes out! I was expecting Wig Wed again! But a bald head …. And, of course, you both look lovely!!! Beautiful!! You are so smart!!

Dorien Nielson - August 20, 2013 - 1:30 pm

This post made me cry my eyes out!
I have a husband battling cancer as well, only he gets the
chemo(s) that DOESN’T cause hair loss.
He always says it’s “too bad! because what does a guy
like me need hair for anyway?”
What a beautiful act of love for someone you love.
Thanks for sharing.

Lolli - August 20, 2013 - 1:38 pm

WOW! What an amazing friend/sister you are! Your kindness and thoughtfulness shows by example. Bless you and Denise and I pray you have many, many more days together!!!

Rachel Fields - August 20, 2013 - 1:40 pm

You both look beautiful!! Praying for her to get better soon and for peace for you all!! God Bless you guys!!

jennifer Cain - August 20, 2013 - 1:42 pm

heartfelt. fabulous

lauren nienhuis - August 20, 2013 - 1:43 pm

This is why I love you, Sam! You and Denise are so gorgeous, inside and out, that your hair makes no difference no matter what you do with…or without it! :) This is what makes me want to continue to be a part of this company! Love you both! xoxo

Megan - August 20, 2013 - 1:48 pm

Wow – so powerful & so much LOVE!!! Just amazing! I Love your heart Sam!!
It’s amazing how inspirational one person can be to the better of so many! I think we all need that one person to believe in us – when that happens anything is possible!!
XoOXoXO

Ida - August 20, 2013 - 1:49 pm

You girls are beautiful inside and out, no matter what! Thank you for such an example of love. Very rarely is there such love to be found. You are blessed, and we are blessed to know all of you. We love you and all, and are being profoundly changed by the way you are all handling this. You’ll never know. Thank you for sharing. Much Love and Blessings.

Rachel - August 20, 2013 - 1:53 pm

Thanks for sharing your heart Sam. xx

Tracey - August 20, 2013 - 1:55 pm

Tears for the power of this life altering journey you are all on together. Happiness in the face of hardship is a choice. A beautiful choice. I applaud you all for choosing to live beautiful lives.

Sending love and support. HUGE love and support.

Eva Zelinsky - August 20, 2013 - 1:57 pm

So sweet and powerful and strong all of you are… denise is the bravest most amazing person i dont even know.
love the cuts and i love how much you guys love eachother. xo
eva

Joy Pine - August 20, 2013 - 2:03 pm

You guys are too gorgeous! Give Denise a big hug from me and you guys have soooo much fun together! xoxo

sarah massey - August 20, 2013 - 2:06 pm

Beautiful ladies. . Inside and out

Vanessa Bullock - August 20, 2013 - 2:15 pm

I’m proud of you. That’s all. This is how we share our lives with the people we love. We want to be brave. We want to protect others from pain. And none of us want to be alone. Not really. I’m glad you have each other. Hug her for us.

JENNIFER ROYSTER - August 20, 2013 - 2:17 pm

I cried truly amazing

Jessica - August 20, 2013 - 2:24 pm

You ladies look more confident, happy and beautiful than ever :)

brandi crowell - August 20, 2013 - 2:31 pm

You both look absolutely beautiful! And this blog Sam, totally made me tear up. The relationship you and Denise have is very special, you are fortunate to have each other. Hope you have a great visit in Texas – and remember, its still like super hot down here :)

Nickie Cardozo - August 20, 2013 - 2:37 pm

Aw, you two look GORGEOUS! Love it, just plain awesome

Meghan - August 20, 2013 - 2:37 pm

So well written…you are both beautiful- inside and out! Such an inspiration!

Renee - August 20, 2013 - 2:39 pm

You’re brilliant. This was beautiful…and now I am crying and going to have a migraine for the rest of Denise’s chemo today, hahaha!

Janette P. - August 20, 2013 - 2:39 pm

Wow Sam. You are truly amazing.

Mignon - August 20, 2013 - 2:45 pm

You have profoundly effected me today! Your beauty radiates! Both of you couldn’t be more gorgeous! Thank you for being courageous and sharing with all of us!

Sarah - August 20, 2013 - 2:49 pm

Simple. Amazing. Love.

Jamie Ledford - August 20, 2013 - 3:23 pm

So totally beautiful, inside and out!

Sara Spitler - August 20, 2013 - 3:31 pm

Love you so much, Sam McDonald! You have a heart of gold!

alina - August 20, 2013 - 3:43 pm

beautifully written…touching and empowering! prayers of complete healing for Denise!!!

Cathy Y. - August 20, 2013 - 3:54 pm

Sam, I love that you did that for Denise~what an amazing testament to your friendship. You are both beautiful, inside and out!

Gina - August 20, 2013 - 3:57 pm

Crying as I looked at the pictures and I haven’t even read the blog yet. What a beautiful friendship <3

Katie Casterton - August 20, 2013 - 4:29 pm

Pure love :) this is so sweet and honest and it he support you women have for each other at MJC is an inspiration to us all- hugs and prayers for Denise who has been an example of Strength and Grace and to you ladies who are showing us in what you share on your blog how to be true friends

Susan - August 20, 2013 - 4:35 pm

Sam, you and Denise are beautiful people Inside and Out! I shared my mother’s journey when she had cancer and Nothing is more important then friends and family and positive thoughts!! For the person with cancer (or any illness) And their friends and family. Thank you for sharing your journey and your friendship. Hugs to all of the Matilida Jane staff and their family and friends.

Lainee - August 20, 2013 - 4:44 pm

Perfectly written. You’re amazing and she is too. Get well Denise, get well.

Jennifer Raymond - August 20, 2013 - 4:50 pm

Two beautiful, amazing ladies!!!!

Traci Farina - August 20, 2013 - 4:59 pm

Why is it that strong women are so beautiful?
Hair, no hair…doesn’t seem to matter a bit.

Love you so much Sam.
Please carry all our love with you and shower it on Denise.

Emily C - August 20, 2013 - 5:21 pm

Beautiful! I don’t have any other words :).

Denee' - August 20, 2013 - 5:35 pm

Beautiful. :)

Julia Marshall - August 20, 2013 - 6:05 pm

You are both beautiful, amazing, inspiring women. Praying for double dose Tuesday, and grateful for the joy you bring Sam and Denise!!

Jamie B - August 20, 2013 - 7:04 pm

Truly inspiring Sam! You are a beautiful person inside and out. Thank you for sharing this with us.

sandy baltzer - August 20, 2013 - 8:39 pm

Sam, you are amazing!! Your heart is beautiful and your love for Denise leaves me with tears. Have the most wonderful week ever in Houston! You are smart and add to that strong! You have stepped up in a way that others only dream about. Bless you!! Give Denise a huge hug from me!! xo sandy

De Isard - August 20, 2013 - 8:48 pm

Sam you are beautiful inside and out–with or without hair! AMAZING!!! Your love for my daughter can never be doubted!
BUT, I am still trying to figure out what you wore when we went to dinner at Great Lakes Grill!! Great memories of that time with you and Denise! Have fun in Houston–you guys will take good care of each other. Love, De

Colleen Pham - August 20, 2013 - 8:50 pm

You are one amazing girl Sam! Happy for you that you will be able to be with Denise soon. Sending lots of love to you two!

Michelle - August 20, 2013 - 10:15 pm

You all are an inspiration. Thanks for sharing…helps so many who can’t.

Kati P - August 20, 2013 - 10:22 pm

You both are so unbelievably beautiful! I truly admire and grow strength with you. Have a wonderful visit with Denise!

Brandi - August 20, 2013 - 10:22 pm

Shes right Sam. You are smart. You are also kind, compassionate and strong. I get you. I get the doing something to feel close. It’s not selfish it’s loving. So glad I got to meet you at art fair and give you a hug!! Have a safe trip

Mindy Blagg - August 20, 2013 - 10:31 pm

Sam!! Now I’m sobbing. That was beautifully written and heartfelt. I met you at Dress Rehearsal this summer and you could not be more precious. Thank you so much for sharing your heart and your honesty!! And might I add, you look amazing with no hair!! You AND Denise! Y’all are strong, beautiful women and we are all praying hard for Denise’s healing!

Lqqkme2 - August 20, 2013 - 10:40 pm

What an AMAZING gesture of friendship, love, support! You BOTH are freak’n ROCK’N your new dos! You both look so beautiful!!!

amanda - August 20, 2013 - 10:44 pm

sobbing… or as us southerners say “bawling crying”…
you’re back. better than ever. now go get em girls! you’ve got this.

jan - August 20, 2013 - 10:56 pm

Wow, what a precious act that bonds you two even more! You are both GORGEOUS and with your new do’s, it shows of your natural beauty EVEN MORE!

Farrar Lindner - August 20, 2013 - 11:43 pm

I’m so proud of you! Proud to be a microscopic part of something do big and beyond words. I’ll be with my bestie at MD these next few weeks. I will keep an eye out for you!! Love and prayers.

Wendy - August 20, 2013 - 11:45 pm

You are both too gorgeous for words. Inside and out. Sending out strong, fighting thoughts and prayers for Denise. Sam, you are a doll. XOXO.

robyn - August 21, 2013 - 12:34 am

you are BOTH beautiful inside and out with or without hair! hugs to you both. have a wonderful visit in houston!

Debbie Kajfasz - August 21, 2013 - 12:36 am

That is so sweet !!! I have mascara running down my face that’s a Beautiful thing to do… Thinking of you Denise DeMarcus HUGS & PRAYERS
Your both Beautiful Ladies ~
XOXO ~ Genavieve Franchesca & Mommy <3

Sarah L-B - August 21, 2013 - 12:58 am

Beautiful :)

Brandy W - August 21, 2013 - 9:39 am

I can’t get over how beautiful you both are….inside and out.

Deanna - August 21, 2013 - 10:05 am

NO way either of you could ever look anything but cute. XOXO to you BOTH!

Even though you BOTH indicated to me that I needn’t quit my day job, back not so long ago, when I tried to match up fabrics and gave you all my BEST ideas for your fall line one day in Denise’s kitchen. ;)

michele l - August 21, 2013 - 10:36 am

summer skirt

Carol - August 21, 2013 - 10:56 am

Sam – you are amazing.

Amy Bertolini - August 21, 2013 - 4:07 pm

Wow! Amazing love between friends is simply beautiful! I love that you shaved your head to be able to connect with her while she is so far away. Houston better watch out! 2 amazing, strong bald beauties are coming at ya! Thank you for sharing and please know that prayers are being said for all of you!

April B - August 21, 2013 - 5:00 pm

Love you guys!

Sarah Stough-Green - August 22, 2013 - 8:35 am

I have NEVER been more eager to shout out loud of what a beautiful, amazing, kind, generous, simply wonderful company I work for…Matilda Jane is so much more than dresses on a rack… so full of love and love for ALL…. unbelievably inspiring women…
TK #499…..

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