A Poem by Sonya Lucas Roberts

Strong, thriving women converged on Rochester Thursday. On October 2018, as the WomenHeart Science and Leadership Symposium would convene. We embarked on this journey with open minds, open hearts, ready to share experiences. Knowledge ready to impart. Many had experienced life-changing, life-altering heart events. Circumstances, situations they would present. We came to the door not really knowing each other. Yet in a few hours we became sisters of the heart connecting with one another. It didn’t take long to realize that we were in a room full of miracles.

Friday morning we were introduced to WomenHeart and all that they do. Hearscarves, Sister Match, Sisters online community, activities just to name a few. A review of the pre-symposium training guide to communications peaked our interest and upped our expectations. Then came the lunch panel. The patient’s perspective on living with heart disease, the beginning of some powerful testimonies. Our sisters enlightened, inspired and encouraged with their touching stories.

Do yourself a breast exam, but don’t forget your heart. Don’t go home and lose the magic of this weekend. We were just a few nuggets our heart sisters sent. These sisters exhibited power and grace as their infectious spirits, fortitude and valor filled our space. A sister commented, “If you didn’t cry you don’t have a heart.”

It didn’t take long to realize that we were in a room full of miracles.
Now telling our story is an integral part of our journey. We were introduced to the five qualities of a well told story. Telling a story should not be sad or depressing but an open and honest retelling.

Didn’t take long to realize that we were in a room full of miracles.
Early in the morning, feeling simply silly as we laughed out loud, was what laughing yoga was all about. We were introduced to thrivership. How to thrive and survive. To grow and flourish, to carry on and persevere, we must change the way we look at things to change the way we are, to change the way we see. Changing our perspective brings a brand newfound liberty. Sisters began sharing as tears of release and comfort flowed, that momentum of healing never slowed. Encourage yourself. Don’t just do something, stand there. Your diagnosis does not define you. We were still realizing that we were in a room full of miracles. From tantalizing taste to increased knowledge of the heart, we were stretched and stretched with our taste buds and we were encouraged to take part.

From the Marriott to the kitchens healthy foods were introduced. Delicious recipes that we hope you all will use. Some heart sisters had fun chopping and blending. Our lunch was really tantalizing because we were, a room full of miracles. We were then enthused and inspired and motivated by those fantastic sister cardiologists. Now they gave us so much because they patiently answered and shared our questions, thus expanding our base. They gave us some tools to run this race. As our women’s heart sisters continue to share we looked around and saw this room full of miracles. Culturally we need to be curious and meet people where they are and open the bar. Open the bar to our own biases. We don’t think the way we think because uncontentious bias is unconscious. We need to be open and honest and really listen and pay attention to us. Develop your own yellow-white system and realize, it’s us, not them.
We met to discuss mental health issues and how we felt about our disease or event. The conversation morphed into the best group yet. Openly sharing about our support. You know, family support we may or may not get.
As we come to a close, we cherish this most valuable gift. Heart Sisters day in our lives to give us a lift. Over a weekend we had cried and laughed, shared gladness and sadness. Loved up on each, comforting one another. Different colors, sizes, shapes, diagnosis. Married, single, divorced, hooked up.

Old, young, in the middle. Grief stricken, heartbroken, filled with joy. All sister queens. We will never look the same. We will never be the same.

Who are we? Women who see, support, educate, advocate. We are an ocean filled with women from all walks of life. The young, the old, as I said before. Women who bring their stories together to inspire, motivate and encourage others because we have welcomed our heart sisters into our space we now have a new invigorated, solid space. We say asante sana to God above for He has shown us we are just an openly, heavenly manifestation of His love. Why? Because we are proud to say we are and will always be, a room full of miracles.

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