The Ark of Dreams Origin Story
My brother, Noah, didn't talk a lot. But, when he did, he was generally hilarious. His observations about the world were spot on, if a bit irreverent. We often traded these observations via text. Once, upon arriving in Florida to see my in-laws, I snapped a picture of a bunch of senior citizens in their wheelchairs which led to a thread about Century Village and wheelchair races. Like I said, irreverent.
In December 2017, a month after Noah's shocking passing, as I approached my gate to return home from Florida, I saw a line of empty wheelchairs. It was a visual reminder of the emptiness I was feeling, and I spent the whole flight home thinking about how I could honor him.
When Noah left us, he left a 4 year old and a newborn. As I thought about all the milestones he would miss, I thought about my friend Hillary. She lost her beloved father 6 weeks before she went to college. I met her on the first day of college and couldn't comprehend how she was standing in front of me like any other college freshman. I still can't! And I thought of my mom's cousin's husband who left a son in middle school. I remembered standing in the cold at his funeral, surrounded by both my parents, and thinking that I simple wouldn't be able to function if I were in his shoes. But Hillary went on, as did Matthew. I realized that I needed to honor not only Noah but all of the kids missing a parent. My entire professional career has been in higher education, so a college scholarship felt like the right vehicle.
The Ark of Dreams Foundation Scholarship is meant to recognize the achievements of students, the dreams their parent(s) held for them, and the nighttime dreams where they can still meet. The Ark piece feels obvious--Noah's ark. The "of Dreams" I stole from Billy Joel!! When he released his River of Dreams album, he spoke about his daughter, Alexa, asking what happens when we die. I hope Billy will forgive my theft as his explanation of meeting his daughter in her dreams is perfectly apropos. Also, among the amazing and protective things my brother, Noah, did for me, was staying on the phone in NJ, while I was in Boston, to get tickets to a Billy Joel/Elton John concert. This was long before the internet, and he knew my best chance was if we both called. He was right. I got tickets!! It was Billy and Elton's first tour together, and it was unbelievable. Noah had no interest in the show, but he spent hours on the phone for me. So, Ark of Dreams is for him. And Colton and Ezekiel, my beautiful nephews. And everyone else missing a parent.