What is the hardest thing you’ve ever had to do?
Hands down, mine was leaving the Children’s Hospital in the early hours of a Sunday morning in September 2017. After spending 4 days and nights there, I walked away leaving behind the one person I loved more than anything and anyone in the whole world.
Nothing prepares you for that. It is a feeling you never forget. I knew then, as I know now, that Ben’s spirit wasn’t there when I left, but even writing these words nearly five years later makes my heart beat a tiny bit faster and my chest tightens just a little.
I share this with you today as one of the things I carried away with me was a Precious Wings memory box. At the time, I had no clue what it meant, why I had it, or what the significance was. At some point, someone had asked me if I wanted one, and not knowing what I was agreeing to, I had mumbled yes.
I put the box on Ben’s bed and it wasn’t until sometime later that I even opened it. The first thing that caught my attention was the divine scent from a small candle, that filled the air as soon as the lid was lifted. The box still carries that beautiful scent today.
While placing some of the cards I received inside, I noticed there was another boy’s name written on the inside of the lid – Harvey. My eyes immediately filled with tears as the significance of what I was seeing became apparent. This beautiful memory box had been donated by another family who had also lost their son.
At that moment, I knew, that regardless of what was to come, I was not alone.
In recent years, I have had the great privilege of working with Kerry the founder of Precious Wings, on a variety of projects. She is an incredibly kind and compassionate human and today I find myself presented with another wonderful opportunity to work with her again.
On the 15th of October, Precious Wings will hold their annual Gala Luncheon which has become their major fundraiser. All funds raised go to providing memory boxes and other support for families throughout Queensland who will also experience the devastating loss of a child.
This event is unlike any other charity event I have attended. The energy is incredible and powerful and the day is filled with laughter, tears, and an overwhelming sense of the deepest love, gratitude, and connection.
Not long after attending the 2019 Precious Wings Luncheon, I was waiting for a lady to park her car at my local supermarket, so I could get into mine. She rolled down her window and said, “Excuse me, were you at the Charity lunch?” I was a bit surprised as I didn’t recognise her and I knew nearly 400 people had attended that lunch.
Her eyes welled up as she told me how sorry she was for my loss. She remembered my story and recognised me from the Precious Wings video and the picture of Ben. Her friend had lost her two-year-old the previous year and the video had meant so much. We chatted for a few minutes before saying goodbye, both of us with eyes full of tears and hearts full of love.
I was immediately reminded why I do what I do. I was reminded why I have gotten involved and volunteered for seemingly random things in the spur of the moment. Things that appeared to have come onto my radar quite coincidentally.
In those few minutes, I was reminded that it’s always the little things we do that count the most and no act of service goes unnoticed.
I am sure I am not alone when I say I have had many moments of feeling like I am not getting anywhere and that what I am doing doesn’t seem to be making a scrap of difference either. That day it took a random stranger to park her car next to mine at the supermarket for me to remember that everything we do counts.
It’s no secret that Ben made a difference in the world and continues to today. For almost 5 years now I have been writing these posts to honour him and continue his legacy, while creating my own, of making a difference. I don’t write for recognition, likes, or reactions and I never know who reads them.
A question was posed in a business setting ‘What motivates you?’ Once upon a time I probably would have replied ‘results‘.
Today my motivation is meeting someone or finding out that a stranger knows who Ben Shaw is or who talks about him. My motivation is discovering that someone read something I wrote and or listened to a talk I gave, and it made a difference to them in some way.
THIS is what motivates me and THIS is my definition of success! 😊
The motivation behind Precious Wings is to ensure no family feels like they walk alone on their journey of grief and with every box donated, and every name inscribed on the lid, this becomes a reality.
This was my reality when I opened up my memory box and saw another little boy’s name – Harvey.
I recently posted about the Precious Wings major fundraiser coming up in October via their Gala Luncheon and the wonderful opportunity this presents for YOU to make a difference.
Your contribution will remind other families that they are not alone on their grief journey.
Your contribution will be remembered by them long after you have forgotten.
What price do you put on that?
Could you donate a memory box in honour of your loved one?
Could you attend or become a sponsor for the event?
Could you donate a prize for auction to raise funds to support more families in the future?
It is rarely what we say, and always how we make another person feel that is remembered and treasured.