04-04-11 / Benefit for Baby Thomas
I have been lazy lately, trying to focus on my good days and selfishly not wanting to sit and write. In the midst of pain and anguish I find peace in writing but when I find myself enjoying one wonderful day after the next, the last place I want to be is sitting at the computer; especially when those days are full of sunny days to be outside with my boy. I know many people are following our story this way and I apologize for disappearing for a while.
This weekend was one of the best I’ve had since January 5th. We literally spent the entire weekend with family and friends, laughing until it hurt. I have come to realize, through this journey in my life, that we are surrounded by so many people that love us; we have multiple groups of friends that never run in the same circles but they all love us the same. I have learned many valuable lessons through this ordeal and I have to say the most valuable is that I can let go and allow others to step in and help. I am a doer/giver, I like to be the one offering to help as much as possible; I am not good at the role of taker/recipient. When we first found out that our baby had Anencephaly, one of my good friends stepped up and organized two weeks worth of meals through the girls at the church; this alone was a bit hard for me to swallow. Anyone that knows me knows that I do not cook; Aaron is stuck with that responsibility. I am, however, aware that it is a lot of work to prepare a meal for your own family, and an even harder task preparing a meal for a family of perfect strangers. One of the ladies that brought dinner one night helped me become a more graceful recipient. She told me that we were blessing her by allowing her to prepare a meal for our family. She said that so many people want to help us through this time but all they can do is offer prayers and the occasional meal. She expressed how helpless it feels to know that someone is going through something like this and you can’t do anything to ease their pain; then continued to thank us for allowing her to prepare our dinner. For me, it seemed odd, I would never think to thank someone for allowing me to prepare their dinner; I loathe cooking!
All of this having been said, our group of friends that we lovingly refer to as the WT gang, brought a proposal to my mother a while back. Knowing me, they weren’t sure how I would respond to it. They emailed her saying that they wanted to do something but they didn’t know how to approach it because they knew how I felt about receiving handouts. Their concern was a financial one, they were aware that there would be bills piling up once he’s born and they wanted to ease that burden a little bit. They weren’t really sure how they wanted to go about it, but they wanted to check with mom before approaching me. One evening while Aaron and I were at my parents, my mom pulled us into her computer room to read the email that she had received; the warm fuzzy feelings we got were accompanied by our natural urge to decline any assistance. Aaron quickly said that we could handle it, we have insurance and what insurance wouldn’t pay, well, we would cross that bridge when we came to it. I began thinking about my conversation with the lady I previously mentioned and realized that this was their way of taking part, their way of doing something in order to lift that feeling of helplessness. We decided to be receptive and from that came the events of this weekend. We held a massive garage sale!
I personally only had to share my story with one person and I could visibly see her heart break. She was a very pretty girl that was carrying her little baby in a pouch in front of her. I’m not sure how she stumbled on me, I’m wanting to say that my mom pointed her in my direction but I’m not completely clear on that. I just remember hearing the dreaded words coming from her face, “can you tell me a little bit about Baby Thomas?” Aaaaaahhhhhh!! The day was more than halfway over and I had dodged this bullet all day long, here was the moment of truth; would I hold it together or fall apart? I spoke quite matter of factly to her, I’m sure almost coming across as callused and cold. I shared with her that he has a fatal birth defect and would pass away shortly after he was born, this is when I saw her fall apart. She was trying not to cry, but being a mommy herself to a fairly new baby, I think it was more than she wanted to comprehend. She started waving her hands in front of her face in an attempt to dry the already falling tears and apologized for crying. She squeezed me tightly then looked at me and said something to the tune of, our God can heal and that’s what I’m going to pray for. I shared with her that we believe that as well and that one way or another, our baby will be complete, whether God chooses to heal him now or He chooses to have him bypass earth all together and heal him in heaven; my baby will be the picture of perfect health either way. I think that was all she could handle because she handed me the money for what she had purchased and let me know again that she would be praying for a miracle and she hoped to be hearing of him being born healthy and complete. She walked away wiping her tears with a burp cloth in true mommy form. I was so dreading that encounter but I’m so thankful that it happened. Sometimes it does the heart and soul some good to see that there are people out there that just love, they don’t need to know you to love you, they just have love in their heart for everyone and everything. She was one of those people.
The entire day was a humbling experience. I watched a group of people rise and shine long before they needed or wanted to on a Saturday to help my family. I watched people that appeared far less fortunate than Aaron and myself, purchasing things that would assist in our stack of bills that have already started coming in. I watched little children wheeling and dealing, which was quite cute. One little old man apparently walked up to Granny (Lauren’s precious grandma) and gave a donation of .50, telling her “this is for that baby”. Being raised in a Baptist preacher’s home, living across the parking lot from the church in the parsonage and in a not so great neighborhood at that; I am used to watching this type of generosity but I’ve never been the recipient of it. Every single person that took part in this benefit touched my heart, I’m not good with spoken words so I don’t think I relayed that message clearly; I want everyone to know that my family is loved, my sweet baby boy is loved and one happy thing that can come from this situation is that all he will ever know of this earth is true love.