For me it feels like that Alan Jackson song “Where were you when the world stopped turning”. This is the date my world stopped turning. The date is etched deeply on my soul. I remember exactly what I was doing when my Mom’s neighbor called me. I knew from the tone of his voice something was wrong. I never once thought it would be Drew.
I think back to the few days before he died often. They go over and over in my head. I have people tell me “it’s not your fault. How could you have known?” Well I was his mother, I should have known. I carried him in my womb for 9 months and parented him for 20 years. I should have known. I should have known I only had a few more I love yous. I should have known we only had a limited supply of his hugs. I should have known that the last time was the last time. I would have slowed down. I would have really looked. I would have memorized the look in his eye. I would have held on and not let him go. Did I say good things to him before or did I do the nagging mother thing? Did I tell him how much he meant to me? Or did I just assume he knew.
Life takes hold of you and there are days that the only thing you can do is get through it. I hope I am better at doing those things more now with Madison and Molly. I hope they know how much they mean to me because I have told them and showed them. I stare at them trying to memorize their face in case anything happens to them.
I just can’t believe it’s been 2 1/2 years since I saw Drew for the last time. I miss him so badly that there are times I cannot breath. I feel as if one of my limbs has been removed and I don’t know why. The path of child loss is a hard one. It is unpredictable, it is painful, and it is lonely. Working with Smiles From Drew helps but there are days that not much helps it just is…..2 years 6 months ago.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Drew’s birthday has come and gone and the actual day wasn’t as bad as the days leading up to it. I had to work and we were so busy. I guess being busy was a blessing. Then that evening the little t-ball team had their first game!!! I went straight from work to the ball field.
I wanted to sponsor a baseball team this year to help spread the smiles. So Smiles sponsored a t ball team called The Fighting Squirrels! Drew would have loved it! Drew played baseball too. I know surprise huh? During the spring we were at Ragel Park almost every night of the week. As the boys got older the practices and games lasted longer and longer.
You don’t realize what memories a place holds until they smack you in the face. I was driving into the parking lot last night to the park and I could feel my eyes filling with tears. I had to check my rear-view mirror to see if I had a car full of stinky boys going to practice. Nope, it was just me. No chatter of who was going to hit the ball over the fence, no dugout songs to practice. Those are good memories I will hold onto and hopefully start making new ones.
In the idea of making new memories Smiles From Drew could always use more support. Whether that is a donation so we can help the kids participate in these activities or volunteering to help us get the word out about us. If you are interested fill out this form and I let me know how you can help.
Music can bring so many emotions. You listen to a song and it can bring you back to the time that you either first heard the song or the reason the song means something to you. Some of my greatest memories are tied to a song. I remember the first tape I had gotten. It was Michael Jackson Thriller. My sister and I got it for Easter and we had to share it. Luckily she was too “young” and I was able to listen to it till it wore out.
There are times when a song comes on it bring backs all those emotions of what was happening when you either first heard the song or that event that happened. Drew loved music. He was always listening to something. When he got older you never saw him without his headphones attached to him. He loved all kinds of music. I was a country girl so when the kids were young that is what we listened to. He loved listening to Toby Keith and Brad Paisley. As he grew he started getting into his own taste. He loved rap and things I had no idea were really music.
I think his pull towards rap was the bass and that it was more conversational. Drew had a serious hearing issue but would not wear his hearing aids. With that music he could still feel the beat and enjoy the music without missing the lyrics. It amazed me how after hearing the song once he would know the lyrics. He was always singing. Even when we wished he would be quite. My sister’s memory for music is that way too. It takes me a long time to remember the lyrics and I have to be listening to the song to know the lyrics.
We loved going to concerts. Drew’s first concert was Toby Keith. It was Madison’s first concert also. We waited all summer long for him to come to Albuquerque so we could all go. I loved watching the kids enjoy the experience. Dancing, singing, and loving the moment. There are so many of my memories of Drew that involve music. I am so grateful that I have them.
There are moments when a song comes on and it takes my breath away. They just completely and totally remind me of Drew. Tim McGraw’s Humble and Kind is one of them. I feel like it should have been his theme song. Cam’s Burning House brings me back to the time right after I lost Drew. LMFAO Sexy and I know it is one that I can’t hear without thinking of him coming up with his own dance moves. He and my friends kids spent hours dancing to it. I so wish I had video of his dance for that one.
If you were one of his friends let me know what song reminds you of Drew. I would love to hear it!
I don’t know what it is about this semester I feel like I am walking in the mud uphill. I think a big part of it is my mind is not in the mode to learn at the moment. I sit in class and I swear the instructor is talking another language.
I went to school for my paralegal degree when Drew started college. It was great I was starting a new adventure and 2 of my friends had started also so I had some great support. Then I graduated, Drew died but Molly got in to the pre-school at the Community College. Someone had to be in school for her to qualify for the program. I decided that I would take media arts classes so I can help Smiles. I was having a hard time with his website and thought I could learn it and do it myself.
I have learned how to write HTML and CSS. I have learned how to turn on Photoshop and how to properly scan items. I have come a long way from when I started but you really need to be able to focus on what you are doing. Thankfully I have met some great people and some great instructors so I will keep at it. Eventually it will all click and I will be so glad that I took these classes but right now I am just tired.
I have wanted to do a big event for Smiles for a long time. The only problem with a big event is that it takes a lot of time and planning. I have been told if you have a great big event then it would cover your nonprofit for most of the year. I have racked my brain as to what we could do but still have the feeling Drew would be a part of it. That has been the hard part. There were so many things that Drew liked, he loved sports, video games, and The Walking Dead.
When I started writing his likes down that’s when I the idea came to me….a Zombie golf tournament. As we all know there are some ideas that are easier said then done. I was beginning to think this was one of those ideas.
Last year I started contacting our local golf courses to see how much it would cost for us to do a tournament. Let me just say Wow! There was no way Smiles could come up with that kind of money. Not to mention, when I started explaining to the people in charge of the golf courses they would just give me a blank stare. They had no idea how we would pull of a Zombie golf tournament. This is the part of the plan that may have been easier said and done. To reach my vision we would have to do the tournament at night. Which means for it to happen at a decent time we would have to wait till it gets darker earlier but by then we risk it being too cold.
I filed all this info away thinking it might be several years before this could happen. It was just going to be too complicated. Then last weekend happened. The girls and I were at the mall shopping for things for prom. Molly wasn’t getting the fact that we weren’t shopping for her and was not digging being at the mall for “no good reason”. Madi took Molly on the train so I could take our bags to the car and there was a lady standing next to a store. The store used to be the arcade in the mall but now it’s Glow in the dark indoor golf! She handed me a paper and said we do fundraisers. I bet if anyone was standing next to me they would have literally seen the light bulb above my head. This was the place we could have our Zombie golf tournament. We wouldn’t have to worry about weather or whether it got dark early enough. I talked to her for a little bit and told her my idea and she was really excited about the idea. Continue reading “Zombie Golf….”→
There are just some days that you wonder why you even left the house….
You are surrounded by people that annoy you to the point that you understand why some people become hermits. You wonder how some of these people have survived as long as they have.
There are times in my path of grief that my patience level is in the negative margin. When I was younger my temper fuse was very short. Minor things used to make me so angry. When I got to my mid-twenties I realized my anger and annoyance was only hurting myself. The person or situation did not care that I was upset. I am sure these people did not stew over the fact that I was annoyed. I am pretty sure that they didn’t even notice. I got to the point that I would take a deep breath and let all that tension and anger go.
The thing about losing a child is you get angry.
You get really angry, you get angry at other people that have intact families.
You get angry at God that your child was taken away.
You get angry at yourself that you didn’t stop it and be able to protect your child.
You get angry that you go to the store and they are out of the one item you needed.
You get angry that someone cut you off in traffic.
You are just angry.
There are some days I have no idea why I am angry I just am…..
I had finished my degree out at the Community College the May before Drew died. I was so glad he was able to see that it doesn’t matter how much you have going on or how old you are you can do anything you put your mind to it. It was also good that I was done with school when Drew died there would have been no way that I could do schoolwork and deal with the loss of him.
When it was time for school to start we got a call that Molly was accepted into the pre-k program out at the Community College. The only hitch was someone in our family needed to be taking classes. They called us on a Thursday and we had to have all the paperwork done by the next day for them to keep Molly’s spot open. We decided that to make it easier since it hadn’t been that long since I was a student there that I would just sign up for a class or two…
I can never do things just a little bit I have to do them all or nothing apparently. I thought long and hard as to what classes I wanted to take. I knew I didn’t want to take anything that was going to make me “think” too much or I would have to have tons of concentration. I decide with all the stuff I was doing with Smiles that I would take Media Arts classes. I would learn how to do Web Design. That wouldn’t be too hard…..hah how I was wrong.
I wanted to be able to update the website for Smiles and I also wanted to be able to help more parents like me that wanted to start a nonprofit in memory of their children but didn’t have the money or the resources to get the help with the Web stuff. I had no idea how complicated web design could get. I have learned a lot and can do so much more than I ever thought I could. I can update Smiles to a point but I have also realized that I actually know what I am doing.
Like any new skill it takes practice and the more you do the more you know. But, slowly but surely I am learning and hopefully on the path to help other parents like me.