When was last time you stopped and really looked around you? What about the last time you listened, really listened? Are you able to stop long enough to really hear someone’s story? To feel their loss? To put yourself in their shoes? To help?
In comical fashion, Ferris Bueller reminds us, “Life moves pretty fast.” However, the truth of that statement is profound. So many of us, myself included, move through life with myopic vision, focused solely on what’s in front of us and our own little worlds, unconsciously grateful for the routine of it all. I can’t count of the number of times I’ve silently thought, “But for the grace of God…” and gone on about my day without pausing long enough to really consider the alternatives.
Yesterday was a special day, according to the calendar and Hallmark and school children everywhere. It was the day we are told to set aside for love. Florists and candy manufacturers count on our orders and the card aisles are stacked 2 and 3 deep with people trying to pick out just the right cards for the people they love. (I know, I was one of the stacked on Monday.) Like drones, we flock to the heart-shaped boxes without stopping long enough to think, really think, about the people we treasure and our gratitude for their presence in our lives. More importantly, we rarely think about what our lives would look like, sound like, feel like if they weren’t here. Especially if that someone special is a child.
For the past week or so, I’ve been distracted by dental problems and a weekend get-away with the family. I haven’t been reading the wonderful blogs I enjoy so much. I haven’t taken time to sit and absorb the words, reflect on the messages, or even look up from my own “little world” to connect with the world around me. I’m glad I unplugged to share time with my family. I enjoyed it. We needed it. But, coming home to an inbox of new blog posts, emails, and Facebook messages seemed almost overwhelming. I set a task to get through them all in FIFO fashion. (First In, First Out; one of the two things I remember from my college accounting class.) There were literally hundreds and the delivery of new emails was not stopped because I needed time to “catch up.” I needed a new approach, and I went with LIFO (Last In, First Out; the other thing I remember from accounting.)
Last night, after our family Valentine’s Day dinner, as we were all snuggled in to watch a Masterpiece Classic together, I began to sift through my emails from the top down. I clicked on this one by The Lucky Mom. My heart broke as I read about a little girl named Donna, but my head was down, and I had many more emails/blogs to get through. I saved it; I would answer the call to action later. Only a few emails later I came upon this one by Pinwheels and Poppies. It was about a little girl named Donna, who liked to dance and to read and the color black and Walgreen’s brand red popsicles. It was so beautifully written, so heartfelt, and the pictures tugged at my very core. I wiped the tears from my face and saved it. I would re-visit it later. I would spend time with Donna later; I had more emails to get through. And then, I read this one by Deborah Bryan at The Monster in Your Closet. It was about a little girl named Donna, and her mom, “Mary Tyler Mom”, and St. Baldrick’s and Donna’s Good Things. I’ve always loved Deb’s posts, and this one was no different.
But it was different. All 3 were different. They made me stop and look up–at my children snuggled comfortably on the couches with sketch pads on their laps and pencils in hand. It made me look at my husband and flash back through the multitude pediatric health scares we faced together, each one concluded with a quiet, “Thank you, God.” They drew me closer–closer to Donna and all the children and parents that face pediatric cancer–and closer to my own children and husband, for whom I am so grateful.
Yesterday, bloggers like The Lucky Mom, Pinwheels and Poppies, The Monster in Your Closet, From the Bungalow and MyNewFavoriteDay all shared Donna’s story. It wasn’t Valentine’s Day, it was Donna’s Day, a day to honor a little girl who wasn’t special because she had cancer; she was special because she liked to dance, and read, and eat red posicles She was special because she touched the world during her short time here on earth, and continues to do so.
On Valentine’s Day, I went to bed with a heart that overflowed with love for my own, for Donna, her family, and for all of those affected by pediatric cancer. As I rested my head on my pillow, I turned to my husband and whispered, “Happy Donna Day” and quietly shared this story, Donna’s story, with him.
Like the bloggers whose links I’ve shared, I am donating today. In the last 3 years, I’ve walked alongside two families whose children have battled cancer, pleading with God to help. Both children have weathered successful treatments, but their futures are still unwritten. Today, my pleas go out to you. Please join me in donating today. Do it for Donna. Do it for her mom. Do it for yourself or your children. Your heart will overflow with love.
I encourage you to click on the links I’ve provided. Read the posts. Get to know Donna and her family, not to mourn, but to take a moment to look around you, really look at all you have. Then, take time to celebrate an amazing little girl by sharing as you can–be it time, money, or prayer.
To make a donation, please visit:
Donna’s Good Things – Welcome to the online home of Donna’s Good Things.
Donate to Childhood Cancer Research | Childhood Cancer Support.
Or directly to Donna’s Good Things St. Baldrick’s event at:
Donna’s Good Things at Candlelite Chicago – A St. Baldrick’s Event.
And, to stay connected, please “Like” Donna’s Good Things Facebook page.
6 thoughts on “Stop and look around. It was Donna’s Day. (Wednesday’s Wisdom)”
Thanks, Renee–and how scary for you! We’ve gone through our scares here, and I’m with you, I can’t imagine….
Thanks for this beautifully written tribute post. I contributed to St. Baldrick’s and Chris’s (….from the Bungalow) team the first week he posted about being Blissfully Bald. I wanted to have Maycee so badly, and so, I always count my blessings that she was born and continues to be healthy and feel a kinship to every other parent on the planet, so to speak. I also have contributed to St. Judes in the past. The scariest thing that has happened to Maycee thus far is having pneumonia-she could hardly breathe, and in the middle of the night I had to rush her to the ER, a single mom, alone, when she was about 3 years old. It was terrifying. Anyhow, contributing to the cure of sick children and praying are ways to pay it forward. Thanks, again, TM for your sharing and honesty! 🙂
Thanks for sharing your comment and your heart through St. Jude’s. We’ve given there as well. I think there is a switch that is flipped when you become a parent that gives you the ability to empathize with other parents in a way that you couldn’t before you have your own. That’s not to say that non-parents can’t be empathetic, but I know that once my own children came along, I was better able to “try one the shoes” of another parent in a way I couldn’t/didn’t before.
I’m leaving you the same comment I left of Shannon’s blog:
When our son was born, he stopped breathing five times. The thing is: he started breathing again. I can’t imagine the horror these people have had to experience. We always give to our NICU — and we always give to The American Cancer Society.
I don’t know if pediatric cancers are up, but I sure seem to be hearing about them more.
And they are heart breaking.
Thank you for sharing. And for making those donations.