There are so many things that suck about losing a child. You have so many regrets and wishes and dreams that won’t be fulfilled.
Each time they handed me my brand new babies for the first time I snuggled them close and smelled their wonderful new smell. I also whispered all my hopes and dreams for them. I hoped that they are happy and healthy. I hoped that they experience love. I hoped that they are kind and generous. And I hoped that they truly know how much I love them.
If you are an unlucky one like me you get to hold your child’s hand for the last time and you have no idea what to whisper. You whisper you don’t know how you can go on without them. You whisper how you hope they knew how much you loved them. You whisper that you will make sure people remember them.
Just like when you hold that new baby and you see the life before them and you with such promise and hope. When you lose your child and hold them for The very last time the unfinished life flashes before your eyes. You see all the things that won’t happen because they are now gone. He will never find his true love. I will never see his blue eyes staring from a child of his own. I will never see him find his purpose in life. I will never see that he found joy in the simple things.
This unfinished life shows you that you may have to go on longer than they were in your life. It shows you that you can have joy and deep sadness all at the same time. This unfinished life feels like a gnawing on your soul. It feels like you have forgotten something with such magnitude and may never remember again. It makes you realize that is now your biggest fear. You fear you will forget the little things as time passes.
This unfinished life takes you back over and over to moments that break your heart even more. The first time they smiled. The first time they said I love you. It takes you back to all this love for them that you now have floating.
There are so many horrible things about losing a child but the unfinished life is the worst.
There are so many times on this journey I second guess what I think I should be doing. Whether I should even go on with Smiles. Whether this is the path I am supposed to be taking or its just the path I want to force myself on. Is Smiles From Drew really helping anyone but me and is it really helping me?
It’s no joke when they say running a non-profit isn’t easy. All the fundraising and planning. There is just so much to do. It practically has to be a full time job. Then you throw in the process of grief and man, oh man is it hard.
The past few months have been particularly trying. My doubt is in full force. There are so many horrible things happening in the world and here I am asking people to buy coffee to help kids play sports. I get it. I get that there are so many more pressing matters happening that needs everyone’s attention right now. I get that to some kids playing sports isn’t something they feel is important.
That is the problem when you work with a cause that is so close to your heart. Smiles From Drew is so close to my heart. You can almost say it is part of my heart. I put all my pent up love for Drew in it. And boy do I have some love for that boy. Two years have passed but it feels like its been an eternity and then it feels like its just been a moment. My love for him did not just disappear like he did. My arms ache, my heart is shattered, and I don’t know what else to do.
I’m not sure that I’m doing the right thing but there are more times than not that I feel like this is what I am supposed to do. And I guess the only time that is getting wasted is mine.
Sometimes the worst part about an anniversary or date coming up is the days before the actual event. Last year I was dreading August 5. It was going to be 1 year since Drew died. I got the idea that if I took the 2 weeks before the actual date and do random acts of kindness and spread joy, it would help me fight off that feeling of despair with his death date.
The girls and I along with a friend or two did a great job. We took flowers to nursing home, gave water to people waiting out in the hot sun, passed out colorful balloons for no other reason but balloons are fun! I think in some way it did help make that One Year Mark a little easier.
I thought to myself that I should make this a yearly event. Use the 14 days before the anniversary to spread joy, kindness and love. I make “inspiring” graphics for each day and then I plan what act of joy I am going to perform. My hope is and was for people to follow suit and post their moments of joy, their random acts of kindness in memory of Drew. That part hasn’t exactly gone they way I was hoping but as they say there is always next year. Even though my plans in my head have not gone the way I wanted I have faith that what I am doing is letting more people know about Drew.
There are so many ways to bring joy to people. Drew knew that best way to do it was a simple smile and “how are you today?”. You would be surprised about how much that can touch someone’s life. They may be having a really crappy day, week, year, or even at the moment feel like a lifetime of bad days. Having someone taking the time to interact is priceless.
I would love to be able to do all that I have in my mind to do for Drew. Unfortunately, my time and wallet don’t agree. So I will keep spreading joy they way I can. I will still tell people about my Drew and try not to worry whether anyone else is doing it too. I will hope and pray someday more people will know about 14 Days of Joy and more people will know about Drew.
It’s hard to believe that I am in the process of doing the 2nd raffle for Smiles From Drew. Every time I write 2nd Annual it takes me a minute to get my breath back. It means it has almost been 2 years since Drew died. 2 years…..that still blows my mind.
There are days where it feels like it’s been forever since I have heard his voice. Then the there are days where it just seems like yesterday and he will walk in the door at any moment. Those are the days that are the worst. Every loud bass cars driving by my ears prick up waiting to see if they pull into the driveway. They don’t….
This year Smiles From Drew sponsored a T-Ball team. They were all under 5 and they were too cute. The team name was The Fighting Squirrels. I think Drew would have loved that. We spent many seasons at Ragle Park during the spring for baseball so I thought it was a good progression for Smiles. It was pretty bittersweet for me. I loved being able to see the kids play and have a great time and I wished Drew was here to see it. But then again if he was here there wouldn’t be Smiles and I wouldn’t have sponsored a team.
Now it’s time to get ready for football season. Which is a busy time for Smiles. We need to raise enough money so we can help more kids. This is how we have our 2nd Annual Smiles From Drew raffle. I’m working on going around town and getting donations for the prizes. These are the times I realize how much work it is to run a nonprofit. It takes quite a bit of time to do all that searching. Thankfully Santa Fe is a very giving town and we get some great donations.
I would love for Smiles to get to the point that we have tons of volunteers and we don’t have to hustle for gifts as much but until then I will do it to keep Drew’s memory going. It is so important that Smiles succeeds. Not just for me but for the community of Santa Fe. Every child deserves to play sports and participate in activities without worrying about costs.
If you would like to donate or know of someone that would email me at email@example.com