We invite you to remember your loved ones who have died by committing an act of kindness in their honor. Love, kindness, generosity, sharing, these are the gifts we can give to them.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Kindness of Remembrance

This past weekend, we went to Hollywood Cemetery, an historic cemetery in Richmond, to take part in a Remembrance Ceremony at the Angel of Hope statue.

The statue was conceived by author Richard Paul Evans in his book The Christmas Box. Replicas of her stand in several cities across the country as memorials to children who have died.

The statue at Hollywood Cemetery came to being as a result of the tireless work of Ty Johnson and his wife Andrea whose 8 month old daughter Reagan Makenna died on March 6, 2004 of Shaken Baby Syndrome at the hands of her babysitter. In looking around the internet for an angel memorial stone for his daughter, Ty found the image of the Angel of Hope. The image of the statue stayed with him and after researching the Angel, he contacted Richmond's SCAN--Stop Child Abuse Now--to get help in his efforts to bring a statue to our community. You can read an article published last year about the Johnsons at this link to Richmond.com.

The Angel was dedicated just before Mother's Day, 2006. We were present for that dedication ceremony where we met the Johnsons. Since then, we have visited the Angel many times. Theo is buried 6 hours away from us, in my family's cemetery--a beautiful spot in Wise County on a beautiful mountaintop, and I am comfortable knowing he is buried with family--but it can be difficult not being able to just go to his grave whenever I feel the need. Having the Angel nearby has helped immensely. We visit the Angel statue regularly. In the picture above, you can see the dragonfly stone I painted for Theo in her hand. When we go, there are always other trinkets and notes from other families who visit the statue in memory of their children who have died.

Ty and Andrea have made possible a beautiful memorial not only to sweet Reagan's life, but to all children who have died, and have created in their act of kindness a place for all families to go to honor their children. Each December 6th, the Remembrance Ceremony is held at Angel of Hope statues all over the country. We gather together and speak the names of our children, hug one another, cry together and know that we are not alone in our grief and pain.

Thank you Ty and Andrea for making the Angel of Hope a reality in our community. Your Act of Kindness has done so much to help me and Jamie and, I know, so very many others as well.

--This good deed

...is from Trent
This past week at the cafeteria I saw someone drop a $100 bill. The man didn't even realize it had fell out of his hand. I picked it up and gave it to him. This act of kindness is donated to baby Theo.

...was performed and submitted by Kevin.
I was spending time with my best friend of many years, just relaxing and watching t.v. It soon became apparent to me that my dear friend was in pain, having been suffering from a bladder infection and running a fever for a few days. I quickly jumped to her concern and asked her if she had taken her medicine for the day, and she informed me that she had not, and that the bottle of her pills was in her car, parked some ten blocks away. I immediately offered to go and get it for her, but she strongly refused, insisting that she was fine and that it was too far for me to walk. I settled down, offering her a drink and trying to comfort her. I waited for her to fall asleep, and as she did, I lifted her feet off of my lap, quietly grabbed her keys, and left the room. I walked outside, the time now nearing 2 am in the morning, and the temperature close to freezing. In order to save time, I did not make a trip back to my place, thus leaving me without much to wear for warmth, just a tee shirt and a light jacket. I walked the ten blocks and retrieved the medicine, and as i was on my way back i remembered my friend's almost inability to swallow pills. Usually, some milk and crackers helped wash down the pill and ease her stomach. The nearest 7-Eleven was several blocks out of the way, but I braved the journey none the less. As I returned to her room, almost forty five minutes later and very cold, I awoke her and brought her the bottle and food. She was very tired and entirely unaware of what was going on. She took the medicine, ate a few crackers washed down by milk, and instantly fell back asleep, looking much better than a few hours prior. I kissed her gently of the forehead and let myself out. Being the deep sleeper that she is, I don't think my friend has any recollection of what happened, but I rest easier each time I think of that night, knowing I did my best to ease the pains of my best friend, my satisfaction lying not in recognition, but in the warm smile I see each time we meet.

---this is from Megan
As my good deed, I have introduced many of my friends to my student organization, Chi Alpha. I feel that this is a great deed because most college students do not have a relationship with God, and personally, I believe that it is very important to have a close relationship. My friends have enjoyed coming to Chi Alpha, and I am very blessed that I had the courage to share God with them.
Have a happy holiday.