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Under the Same Sky

Hummingbird: On the day I met Sarah, I woke up early. I couldn’t stop thinking of the moment we would finally meet. I was on stage rehearsing with the other World Pulse Correspondents when Sarah entered like a force of nature, her energy filling the space. An elegant and kind lady approached me, exactly as I had imagined her. I couldn’t hold in my tears; I was overwhelmed with affection. Her arms surrounded me tenderly and firmly. It was one of the best days in my life. Feeling lucky is an unusual feeling in my life, but on that day, I felt so lucky.

Sarah: I remember what seemed like an interminable escalator ride, and then I was walking into the room and Hummingbird and I were flying into each other’s arms, basking in our mutual joy. I felt proud as I watched her, strikingly beautiful in a formal, white, Syrian Kurdish robe. I saw the audience at NYU melt while listening to her story as they gained a sudden, heightened awareness of Syria and the truth of what is going on there. Her voice joined Neema from Congo and Stella from India in their awe-inspiring determination. As she left the stage, she was immediately surrounded by a small crowd, and I moved protectively to her side, all my motherly instincts at the ready.

Ten days later, the World Pulse Live tour arrived in Atlanta, Georgia and I drove from southwest Florida to connect with them again. We all revel in each other’s company, learning, laughing, respecting, admiring, and listening. Hummingbird and I sit on her bed, talking like two girls at a pajama party. The next morning, we weep as we say goodbye. But I feel that we’ll see each other again before long.

When my mother dies a month later, my sister Lizzie and I are at her bedside, shepherding her with daughter-mother love from this life to whatever reward comes next. When she takes her last breath, I hear myself wailing from that primal place, some part of me wanting to go with her. My mother! My mother! From across the world, Hummingbird sends deep love and comfort. This we have in common, too: we are well acquainted with grief.

Hummingbird: As Sarah mourns the loss of her mother, I enter into deep grief each time I hear that another soul in my country has flown up and away. With each soul I feel part of myself ebbing away, never to return. Innocent people are being killed in horrifying ways and I am overwhelmed by the relentless injustices and sorrows plaguing Syria. Worst of all are the tragic deaths of children. That is when I feel my heart being ripped out. I am worried all the time for my family. Two massacres have taken place in the area where they live. By some miracle my family has survived, each time moving to another area, in hiding to avoid death. Death has become a subject that all Syrians now know intimately, including me. I tell Sarah that many Syrians no longer want to live.

Out on the street I find another cat and soon I bring him home. We call him Mocha, and I email his picture to Sarah to lift her spirits.

Sarah: In July of 2013, Hummingbird comes to the United States to attend a workshop for Women in Public Service at Bryn Mawr College, Alma Mater of my mother and sisters. Hummingbird texts me photos of herself walking through the same, magnificent, stone archway I’ve seen in 70-year-old old pictures of my mother’s graduation in 1942. When the workshop is over, Hummingbird comes to Florida for three days to stay with me, and to meet my husband and our two dogs, at last. I can hardly fathom the privilege of having her under our roof. . . .


Nusrat Ara's picture

Thank you so much for sharing

Thank you so much for sharing your story. It touches ones heartstrings. It makes one believe that we all can contribute in our own ways to make this world a better place, with sisterhood it can get just a bit easier.



Sarah Whitten-Grigsby's picture

Amen, Nusrat!

Dear Nusrat,

Yes! With Sisterhood, making the world a better place can become easier.

Thank you for those wise and beautiful words.

With Comfort and Joy,


Sarah Whitten-Grigsby

Karly N's picture

Thank you :)

What a beautiful, hopeful, inspiring story of love, connection and healing. Thank you so much for sharing this with us and the WorldPulse community! Learning so much from you beautiful women.

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby's picture

Thank YOU, Karly!

And I learn, we all learn, from your generous expressions of gratitude.

With Comfort & Joy,


Sarah Whitten-Grigsby

Y's picture

How inspiring. I see that the

How inspiring. I see that the two of you have found many ways to "go forth, be fruitful and multiply" The Sacred Spirit that is manifest in yourselves. What a beautiful relationship you have. Thank you for sharing.


Susan K.A.'s picture

The power of Love

Dear Sarah and Hummingbird,

Thank you for sharing your stories with us.

You move us with the ferocity of your courage, even in the face of such grief.

You inspire us with the profound intelligence of your love.

You show us the healing power of our connection.

I pray that we all have faith in this power, and that we find own courage in the midst of life's incredible sorrows.

As you say, Hummingbird, we only have each other.


"I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness the astonishing light of your own being."

. . . once again is a balm for the soul. Your magnanimous appreciation, so eloquently expressed, brings tears to my eyes.

I send you love across the miles,

- Sarah

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby

Greengirl's picture

Beautiful Connection

Thank you Sarah and Hummingbird for sharing your journey of sisterhood and togetherness with us. The bond you share is truly divine. Shine on!

In admiration,

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby's picture

Greengirl! Love to you!

You shrine on, too, oh, Magnificent Woman!

- Sarah

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby

Mukut's picture


Such an incredible story. So moving and full of love. We are indeed lucky to witness such love in an equally empowering and loving family of World Pulse.

Thank you for sharing this story. Am touched.

Thank you beautiful Sarah and Hummingbird for telling your story.

Love and hugs to both.

Mukut Ray

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby's picture

Yes, "an empowering family!"

Hail, Dear Mukut!

Thank you for your words of love, added to ours!

- Sarah

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby

Phinnie's picture

The Power of Friendship

Thank-you for sharing this powerful story of the pain, and hope, and joys that you have shared with one another as you have experienced loss and fear...I believe in the power of connection and the healing that occurs when we feel listened to...May your friendship continue to grow and nurture!



Sarah Whitten-Grigsby's picture

Hello, Phinnie!

Yes the power of friendship is a strong, enduring source of support. And the power of listening and feeling listened to is without equal!

Thank your for your remarkable comments and we send you comfort and joy!

- Sarah & Hummingbird

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby

Phinnie's picture


Great to hear from you! Wishing you a year of hope and healing!

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby's picture

Same to you,

. . . Dear Phinnie!

- Sarah

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby

Hideko N.'s picture

Sarah, I have found you again

Sarah, I have found you again unexpectedly while I was browsing through some articles. You are amazing person who is capable of extending your hands to the needful. And Hummingbird, your story is not remote from my own experience. My daughter still is in the country that is very corrupt. I am doing all I can now to getting her back. I don't know how, but the most important thing is the empowerment for me to stand up and utter my voice outloud. It took me for sometimes to gather such courage because I was tormented so much physically and psychologically after years of abuse... Gaining courage and confidence after being abused really depends on those around you who have Godly mercy to encourage you.
Thank you for sharing the wonderful story...

Love, Hideko N.

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby's picture

Hello, Dear Hideko!

Hello, Dear Hideko!

So glad to see you on this page and thank you for reading the story. I think of you and your daughter and cannot imagine how you've endured the separation. I pray that you'll be reunited before long.

Stay strong and hopeful, and know that I send you extra love across the miles.

I know we'll continue to keep in touch, and that is a comfort.

- Sarah

Sarah Whitten-Grigsby

Dearest Hummingbird, Dearest Sarah,

I will never forget being in that university conference room witnessing the moment you both met and the mutual radiance and joy of your embrace! You have both crafted the most tender and powerful expression of true reciprocal healing that is at the core of our community. I wept will reading every word. In you both lives a deep empathy, the known depths of extreme sorrow and the determination to be fierce advocates for a just and joyful life. Thank you for uplifting all of us and providing a path of shared wisdom and sacred friendship.

With love and deep respect,

Kika Sylvie Katchunga's picture

C'est bon

Merci beaucoup de cette histoire que Dieu vous bénisse


Keating's picture

Your Strength

Dear Sister ...

I have no words that can help of this situation; but I can assure you that your story is awe inspiring.

With those like you and your friend, other women would not know how to fin the strength in their vulnerability.

All power to you <3

You both are inspiring messengers for others to stand up and know they are not alone.

Feast your eyes on a hummingbird
humming through the sky
a window drawn for a look to see
a peep from the inside
messenger has arrived
messenger has arrived
messenger in disguise
see the eagle and the hummingbird
as they fly by through the clouds
a window drawn for a look to see
and wash away all your doubts
messenger has arrived
messenger has arrived
so high
so high
so high
messenger has arrived
so high
so high
so high

You share the hardships and show others that they too can put their self doubt aside and believe in themselves to stand up for simple human rights.

With Love


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