Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Phone Call

I wanted to share a story- yesterday afternoon, I received a phone call from a man inquiring about donating stuffed animals. We don't get many phone calls from men regarding stuffed animal donations- the vast majority are from moms donating their children's stuffed animals or helping organize collections. When I picked up the phone, I was totally unprepared for what I would hear. The man explained that he had a collection of Vermont teddy bears that belonged to his wife. She died and he wanted the stuffed animals to go to a good cause. He had researched online and found Project Smile and wanted to send them to us. The pain in his voice was unmistakable, he even started to cry as he talked. His wife had died shortly before Thanksgiving- barely two months ago. She had been diagnosed 3 years ago with advanced breast cancer and it spread to her bones. She was so sick that she ended up in a nursing home at the end of her life. He told me about how someone had nicknamed her a bear and she started collecting teddy bears because of it. It was so heart wrenching to listen to him talk. They had only been married for 6 years- it was his second marriage, her first and he said that he was so lucky to have found her. He told me how he was donated her clothes to an organization helping people in Haiti and he wanted the teddy bears to go to good use. I had tears in my eyes as I listened to him talk- his grief was so raw. We ended up on the phone for a half hour as he talked about her, about the bankruptcy that he is being forced to file because of all the outstanding medical bills and the pain of losing his wife.

It was such a sad phone call, but it was also inspiring in a way- it is a reminder to appreciate the ones that are in our life because it is so easy to lose them. It is also such a sign of support for Project Smile- how people can still be generous even when experiencing such pain and loss. It reminded me of Maureen, the mother who lost her two children to cystic fibrosis. Her daughter had been collecting stuffed animals for Project Smile before she died. After she died, her mom donated the stuffed animals and organized a larger collection for us- such an amazing display of kindness.

Well, that's the latest for tonight. It has been a relatively quiet week so far, but there is always stuff going on- I'm just getting tired and want to read my book some more. I can't renew it anymore at the library and it is now overdue, but I really want to finish it. It is just hard to find the time to read some times. Until tomorrow friends...

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