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For this interview, I traveled to Georgia and met with Cadin, to get to know her and understand the reasoning behind the foundation she set up to help random women and children. It was very interesting and enlightening, I hope you enjoy the chat as much as I did.
Diana: Let’s start off with you telling me a little about the Missy Foundation? Like how you started it and why.
Cadin: It’s still hard to talk about Missy sometimes.
Cadin’s eyes begin to water at the mention of Missy.
Cadin: Missy was my world until she died during a “routine” operation. She was a social worker who worked to improve the lives of women and children. The surgeon who operated on her was working impaired, overly tired on the day of her surgery, and made an error that cost Missy her life. Needless to say I was devastated by her loss, and decided to sue him for malpractice. I used the money from the settlement to start the Missy foundation, to continue the work with women and children that Missy loved. So he wouldn’t forget his unforgivable error, and to make the loss personal for him, as part of the settlement the surgeon at fault, had to deliver a check each year on the anniversary of her death, to force him to remember what his blunder cost.
Diana: How do you decide where to go on your travels?
Cadin: Chuckling. I had no idea of where I needed to go to find myself, so I left the decision up to fate. I pulled out a map, pinned it to the wall and let my lucky dart fly. Wherever it landed was where I would go.
Diana: Why did you choose that method?
Cadin: Like I said, I had no idea where I might find the part of me that was missing, so I put my faith in fate and she didn’t let me down.
Diana: Lexie was one of the first person you encountered on your travels, and one of the first the foundation helped out. Describe your relationship with Lexie for us.
Cadin: From the moment we met, Lexie and I bonded. She was an old soul in a young body, her caring and empathy for others making her wise beyond her age. Maybe I saw a little of myself as a child in Lexie, but we clicked and made an awesome team for harvesting nuts.
Cadin chuckles and looks lost in the memory of Lexie.
Diana: So far, what has been the favorite part of your journey?
Cadin: Other than meeting Lexie, meeting so many women who truly cared for one another. The dove hunt was especially refreshing. To see so many women of differing generations, sharing memories of the past, and working side by side to make the event special for everyone.
Diana: It seems that you may have found love again in your travels???
Cadin: The hardest thing was realizing that even though I knew I could never replace the love Missy and I shared, there was still room in my heart to let someone else in. With all the amazing people I met during my travels, feeling the unconditional love surrounding me, it was easier to open my heart again.
Diana: I’m sure it took you by surprise, meeting Renee and the emotions she stirred up. Was it hard to finally let her in?
Cadin blushes, yes, actually blushes, and smiles warmly When I mention Renee.
Cadin:. Meeting Renee was a blessing. She knew that I wasn’t through grieving for Missy when we met, and my word, she was patient, giving me the time I needed to sort through my anger, and the loss of my first true love. When we knew it was time to move our friendship to a different level, it felt so very right.
Diana: Where is Renee today? I was hoping to meet her and your daughter.
Cadin: Sarah, our little one, is named after Renee’s grandmother, decided today would be an excellent day to visit the zoo in Atlanta. Renee thought I might need a distraction free zone to answer your questions and whenever Sarah is around, she has all of my attention.
Diana: On your next journey, will you be taking Renee with you, or are you going to continue this alone?
Cadin: I will definitely want Renee and Sarah to join me on future adventures. They have become such a huge part of me, I can’t stand to be away from them for long, and I value Renee’s opinion on decisions regarding the Foundation. I want her to share the joy in helping someone in need, achieve her dreams as she has helped me achieve mine.
Diana: What about all those fabulous people you met? Do you plan on keeping in touch with them?
Cadin: I frequently call Lexie to check on her mom, Terri, and Miss Betty, and visit as often as possible. Serena and Meagan come to Atlanta every summer to visit. We’ve promised to visit Bogalusa soon, to spend time with Johnny and Emma and help them celebrate their wedding anniversary.
Diana: is that the painting that Serena did for you?
Cadin: Yes, she did an excellent job of capturing who I was at that moment. Her paintings are very popular and I count myself fortunate she did this one of me.
Diana: She has some serious talent. Do you plan on following her career?
Cadin: Most definitely. She’s planning on having a showing at one of our local galleries this coming year. That’s if she can paint enough for a showing. Her paintings are so popular they are generally spoken for before the paint dries. She’s made us very proud to be a part of her inspiration.
Diana: And the dove hunt! Surely you will be going back for that alone. Tell us a bit about that please.
Cadin: The hunt is one of my favorite days of the year. Renee actually taught me how to shoot a shotgun the first year we went together. I won’t admit to not hitting anything, but she was a great teacher. It’s great to reunite with the women and see the young ones grow into adults, but sad when one of the older women is no longer there to join us.
Diana: Have you had any interest in others wanting to help fund this?
Cadin: The Missy Foundation continues to grow every year. Donors from all around the south contribute to the fund, and the board of directors, are overwhelmed with applications to review. We’ve done some terrific things with the foundation, but that first year, will always be special in my heart.
Diana: Was/is there a message you wanted to give others with all that you are doing?
Cadin: That no matter how bleak life may seem at times, there are still good people in this world that will offer a hand and unconditional love when you need it most.
It really was a pleasure talking to Cadin. As we talked about the Missy Foundation, it was obvious to see the love she still has for Missy, and how much this foundation means to her. When she talked of Renee and Sarah, her face lit up like a Christmas tree, and there was a smile that never left her face. I do admire Cadin for the work she has done with the foundation. That such a tragic beginning could have such positive results is truly amazing. If you haven't had the chance to read her story in The Settlement, do yourself a favor and pick up this gem. I laughed, I cried, and I thoroughly enjoyed her story.