How can your actions, even the smallest ones, have enormous impacts? This experience showed me examples of that. Small actions that were well timed, carefully thought out, and executed, created amazing outcomes. They range from small gestures to shows of force by multiple people. Sometimes I even think that maybe this all happened so that I could see what good still existed inside of people. This will be my last post. I think it is time to shift my focus, but for those of you that read this along the way, I wanted to make sure I left you with something you could take away from it- something that could be useful to you.
This is going to sound bad at first, but we are all guilty of doing this one thing. Something that really started to get on my nerves. I myself have been guilty of it, so I am not calling out any one person. It is something I think we can not help, but we all do. There is good in all of us, but sometimes we struggle with letting it work on its own. We get in the way of it. It is when you hear that someone has lost a loved one, and you find yourself in that person’s presence. What do you do? What do you say? You do not figure it out in time, so you tell them some awful phrase like, “let me know if you need me,” or, “I am here for you, just call me.” As if that person is really going to remember that, then actually pick up the phone and call you, and say “hey, remember that time last week at the funeral home when you said I could call you if I needed you”. Yeah, it is not going to happen. Like I said, I have too been guilty of this, but not since this experience. I am going to tell you of a few instances within this ordeal that stuck out and will forever remind me of the good inside of people. These were small gestures that delivered the longest lasting support. To this day, when I think of them, I feel something that I can not explain.
The first example really embodies this whole message I am trying to deliver. Upon learning of Brad’s passing, we were immediatley taken to a delivery room to start the process of inducing labor. We were in such a state of shock that we did not know exactly what to do next. Anyone that knows Sarah knows that she is extremely close to her mother, though her mother lives in Virginia, so she was not here at the moment that Sarah needed her the most. Upon hearing the bad news, her mom was trying to figure out how to get here as fast as possible. It was mid afternoon, how would she possibly get here any sooner than the next day? As I tried to figure out how to support Sarah as much as I could, I could only think of how bad I knew she wanted her mom present. I can not quite remember how it all went down, but my boss Robby’s wife works for Delta. They sprung into action, along with the help of my co-worker Bryan and his wife. They pulled together the funds and resources to get Sarah’s mom on the next flight to town. We did not ask them to do this. They took it upon themselves, made the decision, and executed it. They even picked her up at the airport and drove her to us. She was now there just hours after we entered that room. She got to hold Brad, an opportunity she would not have had if she arrived the next day. That meant so much to her, to me, and to Sarah. Their quick, selfless thinking still impresses me to this day. They probably had no clue that it meant so much, and I do not think they cared. They just acted, without much thought. They saw an opportunity to help in a moment where we needed help, and did it.
As we woke up in the hospital the next morning, I felt drained. I think we got to sleep around 2:00-3:00am. It was now the morning that we were to get released from the hospital. We had already been contacted by phone or text from pretty much all of our closest friends and family. The president of the company that Sarah and I work for, Ralph, was one of those people. He had already called the day before and offered his condolences. I will never forget waking up that morning and checking my phone. To my surprise there was only one text message so far, it was from him. It simply read, “I’m out here praying for yall.” I was a little confused, I even looked out the window to see if he was on the sidewalk. He was not. It was just his way of letting us know that we were the first thing he thought about that morning when he woke. He would go on to be one of my biggest sources of advice. He too had experienced great loss of loved ones. He knew what I was about to experience. He told me that he was going to be available at any moment I needed to get answers. I took him up on that, and he never let me down. There were times that I called him early in the morning when I could not understand why I was crying so much. He explained to me how long it would last, and that as long as I lived, there would always be moments that caused breakdowns. He was right. A year later we would still have these quick talks. During one of them, I told him that I thought I should talk to someone else, but not a counselor or therapist. I did not know who, but I knew I needed to. He came up with the perfect idea and insisted that I do it. He followed up with me the day I was supposed to. That day was hard. The person I was supposed to meet had a schedule conflict. It was a huge blow to me. It had taken me a year to get up the confidence to go share these horrible thoughts I had, only to get there and realize this person had wrote down the wrong time and had to reschedule our talk for the following week. I took that as a sign that I should not be there. Ralph called me that afternoon to see how the talk went. I gave him the news. I told him that I did not know what I should do, maybe I should just forget that idea. He quickly spoke up, and set me straight. He informed me of just how stupid that was, and he held nothing back. I did as I was told and went back the next week. It was the best thing I could have ever done. I did get answers, I did feel better afterwards. Ralph’s persistence and guidance helped me find that. Again, this was an example of someone stepping up in a time of need and acting.
There have been many small gestures along the way. I wish I could remember them all. My mother saw an opportunity after our memorial. Sarah and I had spoke about having a plaque made with Brad’s name and placed at the church along side other memorial type plaques. It was just an idea we had, but my mom took the lead without thought. She told us what she was going to do and did it. We were not asking her to, but she saw an opportunity to act and did. One of my friends that I normally ran with showed up for one of our regularly scheduled early morning track runs. This day was different. It was only 48 hours after Brads passing. I told him the details and told him that I just needed to run. I needed something normal to happen because the past 48 hours had been nothing close to normal. He acted no different, just as I asked. We ran, I felt a short lived relief. Rob did not know he did anything special that day. He just did as I asked. He was there in person making me feel normal. I tell you of these simple gestures because they hold as much weight as the big ones.
A well timed text message, just telling someone that you are thinking of them can go a long way. Why is that. I feel that when the instinct inside of you tells you to do something, you should act right then. I once heard someone say “now is always the time to do something.” The time is always now. When it hits you to say something to someone or the moment you think of that person, tell them. If you think too much about it, you have wasted time and I doubt you will end up doing what you originally thought of. These few stories I have told you about are clear examples. These people just acted, with little thought. No time was wasted, and long lasting results occurred because of them. These are just a few examples, there were many more. Sarah and I realized that we meant something to people. We are forever thankful to each of you, and you all know who you are. You went out of your way to contact us, stop by the house, or just stop us in the hallway at work and give a hug. All of these little actions brought us to realize that there is so much good inside of people. In the event of a tragedy, that is all you have to offer someone. So do not think about it, it is in you! Find it and let it out! It will handle the rest.