I just wanted to share with you what we did Saturday night. Several weeks ago we were asked by our pediatric hospice foundation, Noah's Children, to speak at their annual fundraising gala and of course I immediately said yes. I was told only to share our story--in about 10 minutes!--and to say what was on my heart. I had thought and thought about it and early this week was getting worried as I still hadn't come up with the "perfect" speech. I knew that what I said was meant to move people there to spend as much money as possible, to make their donations real, to show them where their money goes. The organization is non-profit and exists because of donations from others.
This past week (Wed-Fri) I went to Massachusetts for some yoga training. I decided that while I was there, I would come up with something. I went alone and it was a long drive and the place is very conducive to thought and contemplation. Jamie was getting really worried that I was waiting till the last minute. I took a workshop on Life After Loss which focused on yoga as a path to healing after loss, as well as structuring a yoga class specifically for people dealing with all kinds of losses. I already know how healing yoga can be. I couldn't have gotten through this last year without the teachings I learned in my yoga teacher training (yoga is so much more than a bunch of physical postures). The spiritual basis and teachings helped me to feel connected to a Divine source, even when I was angry at God, feeling lost, betrayed, abandoned. Anyway, I asked Theo to help me come up with something (and also to be with me and help me not to have a breakdown while I was up there trying to speak--I did get teary eyed, but not to the point that I couldn't go on). And he did help me. I know that he was guiding me and that he gave me the perfect thing to say--almost as if he whispered it in my ear. I came up with the whole thing on my drive back Friday. That night, Jamie made me write down what I was going to say just to have a guideline--even though I had said it over and over all the way back from Lenox, Massachusetts to Richmond, Virginia (It did an awful lot to help me deal with the traffic on the NJ turnpike and NY thruway and the dreaded Beltway around DC!).
The theme for the gala, held at Richmond's posh and world famous Jefferson Hotel, was " A Toast for our Children". They opened the evening with hors'doevres and wines from Italy, France and Spain, then they showed a DVD slideshow of several of the children who had died this year (including Theo) and some currently in the program. Dawn, the director, who was so supportive to us and who spoke at Theo's memorial service and performed our wedding, gave a speech about the organization and then asked us up to the stage. Jamie opened up for us and then introduced me to a large crowd all dressed up in tuxedos and gowns. After I talked, they had a big auction, auctioning off art work, packages to VIP sporting events like Bowl Games in Florida, Box seats at NASCAR races and driving the cars, other sports tickets packages, ski trips, vacations to Puerto Rico, the Caribbean, New Mexico, different golf trips to exclusive courses, packages of luxury spa treatments, service packages like catering, home decorating and certificates for all sorts of services. I don't know yet how much money they raised, but tickets were $125 per person and during the auction, I heard things going for a lot of money. Afterward they had open bar, dancing and desserts. It was an amazing night and I am so proud of my baby and of myself and Jamie.
After the speech, so many wonderful people came up to me all through the evening, telling me about their own children, some had lost their own children which is why they felt moved to support Noah's Children. I just wanted to share this with all of you, since this was such a huge step for me. My mom and grandmother and Jennifer and my Dad came. It was a nice night and it felt good to be able to do something to help other families who will go through similar circumstances and to make Theo proud of me. Thanks for listening!
Love to all--