Before I write this post I need to kind of get something off my chest and also comment about my last post. First of all I am not even sure I should have posted it... it is sad, very, very sad...and I am not. I am not sure why I did and I think I may remove it because I am not sure that it really fits here. And yet....I just wanted to share the book abit, to share where I was and where I am now...because I am in a good place. I think some people believe I focus too much on what happened then and on what we lost. To them I say...well nothing. There is nothing to say. Most can't understand, they've not walked in my shoes, thank God. They also don't live my life and know that I am very much full of joy, hope, love and peace. I know what I lost but I also know what I gained. Talking about it and about Cole does not mean I am focusing on him or that time and not on the 'now'. It simply means, to me anyway, that I am showing where I was, remembering what happened and looking at how far I have come. Thanking God for bringing our whole TTTS journey to my life used to be hard but it really isn't anymore. Can I say I am glad I have a child in Heaven... some days yes! Living in the past and learning from the past are two totally seperate things and I am pretty confident that I am in the later group.
I am different, I am changed, I am me! I talk about it because it matters to me, I focus on it because it is my way to help others on this journey. Helping others makes the journey have a purpose, makes all that we went through seem to have a focus. I feel I am directed to help, to raise awareness, to fundraise and to offer hope to others. I truly believe that God and Cole are directing me that way.
And so on to today's post...
The joy of giving can’t be defined or measured. It can only be felt, again and again, in more ways than we can imagine. For some, the joy of giving, especially this time of year, is giving the material things, the presents and the tokens of our love. It brings great joy to see the faces of others when they open a gift from you. It brings great joy, sometimes, to shop for those things. Giving the gift of money to those who don't have is another amazing feeling as is giving money to places that can help others...the Salvation Army kettle drives or toy drives, sponsoring a foster child in another part of the world, giving money to help a family in need or pledging money to a an organization, foundation, charity etc that can be used for research, for the purchase of needed equipment or for projects that can help others in need. Those are amazing ways to feel the joy of giving.
The joy of giving of yourself is even more satisfying. It is a feeling that envelopes you and for me, gives me peace. Sometimes that giving of yourself is in the form of physical, hands on support and sometimes it is just being the ear to listen and the voice that offers support, encouragement and advice.
Set your heart on doing good. Do it over and over again, and you will be filled with joy.
The more I do this type of thing for others, the more joy I feel. Right now in my life, most of that joy is found in giving my time to the TTTS world. Sometimes it is the form of support in online groups, sometimes it's starting those groups myself. Sometimes it is in sharing my story so that others can see that it does get better, easier...that there is hope, there is light at the end of the tunnel. It's amazing what a few words can do for someone who is feeling so lost and overwhelmed with a medical issue affecting their unborn child. It is also amazing to share where you were and where you are now with someone who is new to the world of grief.
My heart is also very much filled with joy when I work at raising funds to support the place that gave us hope, the place that saved my son, to the man who made that happen. It brought me so much joy yesterday to share those funds and that hope with Dr. Ryan. It brought me immense joy to have my whole family there and to have another TTTS mom join me in presenting it.
Sometimes I wonder if all the effort I put in is what I should be doing, is it worth it, does it make a difference?
Yesterday as I watched the joy on Dr. Ryan's face as he looked at the amount on the cheque, as he talked to us about our stories and about what we think would be the most helpful thing to other families...when I heard the thoughts I've had since the day we lost Cole regarding supporting others and being able to be there, at Mt. Sinai (atleast in spirit and then through a voice on the phone or online) to help others, I knew that it does make a difference, it IS where I am supposed to be, what I am supposed to do. And I was enveloped by such JOY!
Dr. Ryan has so many plans and ideas for offering support to others during and after delivery and is especially wanting to support those who are greiving. He wants both Dianna and I on board to help with this and that is just, well AWESOME.
He spent so much time talking with us and listening. He checked out both our survivors...here is a glimpse of the moments with Cameron....
He was just so grateful to all of my family and spent time with Zack asking him about this haircut last time and his bike ride this time.
It was just a day filled with peace and from that, with joy. I am so glad we did it, so glad that Cole's day now has so many great memories attached to it.
The joy of giving...is just amazing!
We find greatest joy, not in getting, but in expressing what we are... Men do not really live for honors or for pay; their gladness is not the taking and holding, but in doing, the striving, the building, the living. It is a higher joy to teach than to be taught. It is good to get justice, but better to do it; fun to have things but more to make them. The happy man is he who lives the life of love, not for the honors it may bring, but for the life itself.