Feel the Emotion
I know this is a few days late for a Thanksgiving posting, but I think it applies regardless of the holiday or not. Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays and over the last several years I have enjoyed sharing my joy for the day with others in need. Each year I post a brief ad on Craigslist asking for families in need to contact me if they need help providing a Thanksgiving meal for their family. I usually hear from a family within minutes and generally a couple of families prior to pulling the ad.
I do this because it brings me great joy and it’s a way for me to honor both of my children, Katie and Noah. I know they are smiling down on their dad and that makes me proud to be their dad. There are some strings attached to my offer, the first is I get to go shopping for them with their list of needs, second string is I get to meet them and the last string is they have to listen to is me tell them that I do this to honor my kids. I also give them a copy of my book.
The whole experience is emotional for me and for them. Last week I had the privilege of helping two families. The first family was a couple that had two children and the dad recently lost his job. As I was loading the groceries into his truck, I was telling him about my children and do this to honor them. They both hugged me and they went on their way, but this time was a little different for me. Once I got into the car I started to tear up and at first I was trying to fight it but then decided to put my car back into park and sit there for a few minutes to feel the emotions. It made me proud to be Katie and Noah’s dad and I was proud of the guy I have become as a result of knowing them.
I met the second family the following night. It was a single mom with three children who disclosed to me that they have not had a Thanksgiving meal in three years and they live on ramen noodles. Although it wasn’t as emotional for me that evening, the mom sent me a photo of her children the next day. When I opened the photo it was obvious that one of her sons had some major medical issues. I instantly knew why Katie and Noah sent this family to me and it made me smile.
I was hesitate to tell this story because I don’t do this for people to tell me how nice of a person I am, I do it for me, Katie and Noah and the families that need it. However, I thought there was a lesson for other grieving dads and moms to learn. The lesson is one that I write about in my book, that lesson is “there is healing in helping others.”
Prior to the death of my children, I was the guy who never made time to help others because I was so absorbed into my own life. There were a lot of people that helped me through the aftermath of my children’s deaths, people who made time. I now try to make time to help others when I can because I realized how much healing I receive in return.
Have you found a cause to honor your children?
Have you given any thought to what that cause would be?
Tell us about your experiences in honoring your children.