I have some friends that haven’t known me for very long. I have some friends that have known me for what seems like forever.
Everyone that knows me should know this one thing. I have a brother and 19 years ago today he died. But more importantly, he lived. He lived and he was loved. He was loved by me and so many more. He lived and he was loved.
I want my kids to know him the way I did, but it’s been so long that I’m starting to forget.
I was snuggling with my girl the other night making funny faces and I showed her Uncle Danny’s favorite funny face. I wish so much that he was here to show her. This is the best I can do. Funny faces, funny sayings, and stories. But the memories, they fade.
My brother Dan as a baby and his nephew Theo. A slight resemblance there, huh?
I have a friend who very recently lost her own brother. We were in Vermont watching the Olympics together as Bode Miller broke down on TV about the loss of his brother. And there we were, the three of us, crying for our brothers. She and I talked for a while about our brothers. It was sad, but also nice. I think we both appreciated the space to talk about them without fear that we would upset someone or say the wrong thing. I understand her. I have been where she is.
I don’t get to talk about him much with new friends. It’s an odd thing to bring up and most just quickly move the conversation along. Fair enough.
But he is a part of the person I am today. His death is a part of the person I am today. If he had not died I would not be same person that I am right now. Had he not lived I would be no where near the person I am today. He was and is my brother.
I’m writing this not for a chorus of “I’m sorry” or “Hugs” (not that I won’t take them), but just so that you know he lived and he was loved. If you don’t know me that well maybe you didn’t know I had a brother.
Well I’m here to tell you I have a brother. His name is Daniel, Dan, Danny, Bean. He lived and he was loved.
My wonderful future sister-in-law (if my BIL ever gets off his duff) is running a project called Blankies for Boston.
They are collecting 1000 comfort blankets for victims, victims’ families, and first responders of the Boston Marathon bombing.
The four women organizing this project met knitting and crocheting scarves for the children of Sandy Hook Elementary School, which collected over 3500 scarves! In just two days, Blankies for Boston, had participants from the UK to California.
Sometimes in tragedies like this, people feel like there is nothing they can do to help. Yes, of course you can give money, to funds like the One Fund (and you should) But this? This is different. It is a little piece of the soul of someone’s heart knitted all up into a blankie of love and sent to someone that really needs that love right now. Doesn’t that sound awesome? :-)
Know how to knit? Head on over to the Facebook page and check out the specs and get knitting? Know someone that knits (um MOM? Can you hear me?) then send them this link.
There are a ton of people from other parts of the country helping out, but now they need help getting the word out locally.
Get the word out my bloggy friends. Get the word OUT!
Also, please message them if you are directly connected to a victim or first responder, so that they can get them a blanket.
A quick look through the World news anywhere on the internet will tell you that having sick kids at Disney doesn’t really rank up there with the kinds of serious problems facing the world.
As you read my posts over the next week or two realize that I know this. I understand that I am whining and complaing that my otherwise healthy kids got to take a trip to Disney World and didn’t feeeeeeeeel good. I get it. These are first world problems.
I have traveled around the world and have seen first hand the way that some children live, and die. I know that I have a good life and so do my children.
The whining comes from having saved for a couple of years for this, watching my kids not really enjoy it, and wondering if we should have spent the money. However, we can make more money, they did have some fun, and in the end I do think it was a good decision.
The bottom line is the fact that for us, this was probably a once in a childhood trip and I feel sad about that. But not so sad that I don’t see the ridiculousness of it all. I will be telling our story. That’s it. There are lots of stories to tell.
My children are playing together quietly in the other room. I hear them whispering to each other. They are playing nicely.
They are 6, 4 & 2. This doesn’t happen often. The quiet playing nicely thing. I have a minute so I thought I’d write.
I have gone quiet since last Friday. Since Newtown. Since the shooting. It has weighed so heavily on my heart, there are moments I can’t even bear it. There are many posts in my head that relate to it but I can’t get them out right now. I probably won’t.
There is a post about grief and the holidays. My brother died when I was 23 and the holidays are fraught with mixed emotions.
There is a post about losing a child so quickly. I was living at home when my brother died and, apart from my own grief, watching my parents go through theirs was just about the most awful thing I have ever experienced.
There is a post about guns. I don’t have toy guns in my house. My oldest has asked Santa for a Nerf gun. I told him that Santa knows Mommy doesn’t like toy guns. He’s still hopeful. My friend’s husband is a State Trooper, my BIL is in the army. There are actual guns in their houses. I get it. I bought my nephew a gift card for paint ball for Christmas. Now I can’t give it to him. I can’t.
There is a post about teachers. No there actually is a post about teachers. Please honor your teachers everyday. They deserve it.
There is a post about mortality. When I was a kid I was so afraid that my parents would die and leave me. I felt it so acutely that I remember it to this day. We have a very large family and I had been to a bunch of funerals at a young age. It was terrifying to me.
There is a post about my decision to have children because it was a decision. Watching what my parent’s went through after we lost Dan was something I was positive I didn’t want to go through. The easiest way to ensure that was just to not have them right. Oy.
So there are many and I can’t write any of it. I am too jumbled and now I have the flu. The other night I took something for it that made me stay up instead of fall asleep. I kept thinking about Newtown and those teachers and those 6 year olds.
My baby is six.
If that young man had come into my baby’s classroom he would have been excited to see him. Cool he’s dressed like an army guy! He has a gun! And then…I couldn’t shake that thought and still can’t. My baby wouldn’t have run for cover if he saw him. It a grotesque and awful thought that will not leave my head.
It’s all just too much. There is so much in the news about it. The funerals, gun control, the NRA, mental health, guns for teachers and on and on. I can’t turn it on until late because I still haven’t told my oldest – the six year old, about it. I am praying that he doesn’t hear it over the holiday. I decided that he doesn’t need to know it until he needs to know it. There is so much awful in the world and I need to present it to him in doses. This particular brand of awful can wait a bit.
There is also so much good in the world. SO much.
The support that Newtown has received in the week after is nothing short of incredible. People from all over the country and all over the world are reaching out to them. But also we’re reaching out locally and in our own homes. People are performing 26 random act of kindness (#26RAK) to honor those lost. We need to be supportive in our communities and loving in our homes, always. Not just in moments of madness.
And then there’s that. We have to stop the madness…but that’s another post as well.
They are whispering about Santa now. About what they might get.
My heart is full of love and it aches for those families in Newtown that have one less whisper, one less patter down the stairs, one less shriek of delight at the presents that Santa brought. For those that don’t celebrate it’s just another day without their babies another day that they muster the will to go on for their other children, because they need them. They need each other. For those families that lost grown children, the love of their life, or their mother on that awful day they try to figure out how to move through the world without them.
I will light a candle for your babies and for you and wish you peace, Newtown. We all do.
I would love it if you would light a candle for them too. Give just a moment to think of them and then go on and have a wonderful day with your families. Honor them well by honoring your own. Peace.
I’m just going to name this post the hashtag for Giving Tuesday. Let’s just get down to it, shall we? What are you giving today?
Lots of buying and getting and wanting and have-to-hav-ing happened over the weekend. We had Black Friday which started on Thursday and then Cyber Monday, which I think also started on Thursday. With all that buying and getting the “Giving”of the season sometimes get missed, or forgotten altogether. Getting the best deal seems to permeate our culture.
I have been trying to get down to the nitty gritty of what this season is about with my kids, for our family. Everyone’s family is different. We do not practice any particular religion so for us the focus is family and giving. Yes, there is some getting in there too. My kids are little. We do have SANTA! But what else is there? After we’re done thoughtfully picking out presents for our loved ones, what’s next?
My conversation with my kids always runs something like this: After family, we turn to our neighbors. We think of our teachers. Maybe we’ll make them some treats and put it in a pretty basket. Of course we say thank you to clients, they have put food on our table all year. For that we are grateful. Then what? We need to think of those who are less fortunate than us, because we are very fortunate.What can we do for them?
We don’t have a ton of excess cash, but we will donate some. But it doesn’t have to be cash. It can be time, or a service, or goods, or a smile. Mostly we will be giving goods. We are donating all of the baby stuff that has been sitting, waiting for us to decide on baby #4, to our local battered women’s shelter. Also we have a bag of toys for Toys for Tots. We have some winter jackets up in the attic that don’t fit anyone – I am postive there is a cold child somewhere. :-( We are also putting together a bag of food for the local food pantry.