Onset Woman ‘Graced’ by Selfless Gift of Garth Brooks Tickets
Garth Brooks may sing about having friends in low places, but there was some uplifting about how two women came together this past weekend thanks to an act of kindness that created new friends of the highest order.
Wareham singer-songwriter Grace Morrison had two tickets to the hottest show of the spring, as country megastar Garth Brooks was bringing live music back to Foxboro's Gillette Stadium. However, when her husband became ill on Friday, it looked like they’d be unable to attend the show.
“My husband has been a huge fan for years, and although I probably shouldn’t admit this because I’m a country songwriter, I’ve been a passing fan at best. I know the hits,” Morrison said. “So when he got sick on Friday, we got pretty nervous that we’d have to skip the show.”
Morrison reached out to friends to offer them the tickets, but nobody could make it.
“We were just like, how can we turn this around?” Morrison said. “Our social media feeds have been pretty negatively lately – it turns out local politics are THE WORST – so we thought, let’s find a great human that could use a little pick me up.”
Morrison posted in the Wareham Matters Facebook group that she would like to give the tickets to “some who has been going through a rough time, was free that night, and loved Garth Brooks.”
That person turned out to be Onset’s Maryrose Hillier, who had just been through hell over the past year and a half.
“Maryrose was the first to message me and I knew right away she needed them,” Morrison said. “A sweet, sweet person who's been having a rough go of it.”
Hillier said she was not Facebook friends with Morrison, and although she seemed like a “total stranger,” she soon realized that she had many mutual friends, including Morrison’s cousin, and that she knew Morrison’s mom, who ran the front desk at the Forestview Nursing Home.
“I sent her a message about a half an hour after she posted about the tickets, and I assumed she already got somebody to take them,” Hillier said.
However, she figured she would take the chance and that maybe luck would break her way, because she had more than her fair share of struggles recently, beginning with an unexpected health battle for her husband, Shawn.
An incident on December 23, 2020, led to a trip to the emergency room, where Shawn was diagnosed with diverticulitis, and he had a small tear in his intestine that was venting to his abdomen.
“My husband went septic and spent 21 days in Falmouth Hospital. He had a total of three surgeries. He almost died,” Hillier said. “Shawn came home on January 12 to a hospital bed in our living room and Christmas still waiting for him.”
She then spent a great deal of time helping Shawn get healthy.
“He’s almost 100 percent better,” she said. “He’s like a new man. That in itself was a miracle, and that was enough for me.”
“After his reverse surgery to remove his colostomy bag and put his colon back on line in April (2021), he was able to slowly go to work a few hours at a time until he built himself back up to be full time in October,” Hillier said.
However, there was more bad news to come.
“A few months later, my employers – who were amazing in assisting me in all ways possible to ensure I was able to be there for my husband and his multiple weekly appointments – had decided it was time to retire as of this April. My work family of 17 years,” she lamented, noting she is still looking for her “new work family.”
With all that stress, she said Morrison’s gift of the Garth Brooks tickets came at the perfect time.
“I was able to just go, and just let go,” she said.
However, she was a little skeptical at first when she found out she was getting Morrison’s tickets.
“I was amazed, absolutely amazed, when she said, ‘They’re yours,’” Hillier said. “I had no idea where these seats were. I thought I was being punked.”
Hillier took along her friend Martha, and then entered Gillette Stadium and got to where they thought the seats were.
“The usher said, ‘You can’t go into this section. You’ve got to the good seats,’ and we were like, ‘What does that mean?’” she said. “It turns out that we were on the floor right behind the stage, and we could see everything. We discovered there was a bar area, and although we’re sober and don’t drink, we found it to be a spot where we could stand outside with the AC blowing on us, with room to dance the entire time. That’s where we stayed the entire night.”
“It was an amazing experience,” she said. “I’m still blown away.”
Morrison also checked in with Hillier to see how she was enjoying the show.
“She sent me a message asking, ‘Are those seats OK?’ and I was like, ‘Are you kidding me? They’re more than OK!’” Hillier said. “She told me, ‘All I ask is that you post videos that make me wish I was there.’”
Morrison said she enjoyed watching Hillier post photos and videos from the show.
“I can't tell you how happy it made me to see her having a wonderful night,” Morrison said. “Probably happier than I would have been had we gone ourselves.”
Hillier said she still can’t believe the generosity of Morrison in giving such a wonderful gift to a complete stranger.
“She’s amazing,” she said. “I like to say I was Graced.”