Birthdays after the loss of your child are HARD. You’re meant to ‘celebrate’ another trip around the sun, all while your child will never see another day, let alone another year. I dislike birthdays as a whole now. So this year, I wanted to do something DIFFERENT on my birthday and had the opportunity to host a fundraising event at a local business called Cookies & Cream, located in Haymarket, VA. (Haymarket is a hike from where my family lives and where the majority of my friends live. It’s not easy to get to after work on a week night BUT…the opportunity of 20% off of all sales for the night + it being an ice cream social – duh. Kate loved ice cream. + it being my birthday = too good to pass up. The owner? Yah, she’s just straight up GOOD PEOPLE who likes to give back to her community. She was amazing and her staff of young kids was awesome to watch.)
So, we made the trekk out and I cannot even begin to explain how glad I am that we did.
They let us set up a table with our merchandise to advertise & sell, and I went in thinking “oh, maybe we’ll sell a shirt or two, but it looks so nice & official all set up!” They only asked that we supply a few volunteers to deliver the goods to paying customers.
The first person who walked through the door was a friend of mine from SEVENTH GRADE. He brought his daughter. He so kindly listened about Kate, hugged Mike and me and bought a whole bunch of stuff he didn’t have to buy, but did out of the kindness of his heart. He made me feel at ease and confident – he got the night off to a really terrific start. But my word…that was just the start.
Friends came from all over. One friend drove almost 2 hours to be there and then spent the night on her feet, delivering orders. There were friends from my Tribe. From both our places of work. From high school. One friend from school brought her daughter and her camera and she snapped photos for us – showcasing the LOVE that filled that sweet old house in the middle of a parking lot in good ‘ole Anytown, USA. Thank you Jessica Howard for these priceless memories.
People brought me birthday gifts. People hugged me fiercely. They wore their Kate’s Cause shirts. They bought us OUT of our Kate’s Cause merchandise. People totally unaware of the charity event going on that night from the community asked lots of questions. They looked at her pictures and they hugged us based solely on the fact that they, too, are parents and they just wanted a hug. We passed around babies. There was a “pay it forward” movement that went on and on and on with people doing Random Acts of Kateness, buying the ice cream for the guests behind them.
It was remarkable. For three hours, we entertained a huge crowd. Hugged a lot of familiar faces and hugged even more NEW faces. It was an absolutely beautiful May night albeit a little chilly. But people left frozen from the ice cream & chill in the air, but with warm hearts.
I left with my cup overflowing. My girl was EVERYWHERE last night. In the sprinkles. In the ice cream. In the love and in the smiles. And in case I didn’t feel it then, she sent me not one but TWO foxes in our neighborhood to greet us home.
Last night was SO. GOOD. for the soul. And I hope that if you attended, you felt the same. THANK YOU so very much to everyone.