My 2-and-a-half year old daughter died recently. To honor her memory, I want to give another little girl the "Stolen Moment" that I'll never be able to give to my Savannah.
I'm sorry if this is very raw, but my baby girl died this morning.
Please believe me when I say that Savannah, who was 2-and-a-half, was loved every second that she was alive. My wife and I fed her the healthiest foods, gave her that extra-fancy milk with the DHA in it, enrolled her in a little gym class and showered her with countless hugs and kisses. As a dad, I practiced every day until I finally (mostly) figured out how to make pigtails. She was a healthy, happy child - this is not how things are supposed to end.
We're not sure what happened. We woke up this morning, and she did not.
If you've never dealt with loss, I sincerely hope that you never do. If you have, then you know the worst feeling is the sense of helplessness, of frustration. The only thing you can do, it seems, is admit that you have no control. And when you're a parent - the person who is supposed to be able to make everything better - that's a horrifying thing to admit.
If you've read this far, I thank you. I won't take up much more of your time.
One thing that does give me solace is that when "Savvy" was with us, we shared lots of unplanned memories with her. A surprise trip to an indoor playground, an unexpected cookie at Starbucks, a walk along the beach on a random Tuesday afternoon - and I came to refer to these as "Stolen Moments."
I'm feeling very powerless right now. But people have already begun asking how they can help, and in the days ahead I don't want a bunch of money to be thrown away on flowers. I'd recommend a charity for people to make donations in her honor, but I'm very weary of the way many charities take your money and use them to pay overhead. The only way I can handle this powerlessness, I figure, is with the power to give someone else joy.
So, here's my idea: If you'd like to make a donation in Savannah's name - any size - please do it here. And my dream is to take every penny of those donations, locate a special little girl somewhere in the world - and give her and her family the "Stolen Moment" that we'll never be able to make with our baby Savannah.
I will find a family somewhere - someone I have never met before and has no connection to anyone I know - and help them make a Stolen Moment. The only 3 requirements are that they have a little girl, that they very clearly love her, and that they don't have the financial means to typically do this sort of thing.
Perhaps we can send them to Disneyland, and get them the greatest hotel room ever. Perhaps we could fly them somewhere. I want to give some little person a moment with her Mom and Dad that she'll remember forever - a moment that they would never have without us doing this.
Any money raised above the costs of the "Stolen Moment" will be put into a college fund for that child.
After the Stolen Moment takes place, I'll ask that the family meet with my wife and I, show us all the pictures they took, and tell us every awesome detail. In the wake of this tragedy, I'm determined to create joy.
Savannah was too young for me to say that this is what she would have wanted. But I can tell you that this is what I would've raised her to believe was the right thing to do.
If you have read this far, but cannot make a donation, I completely understand. Thank you for listening.
But please, I ask that you do this for my Savannah, the girl I would give anything to have back in my arms right now: Hug your child tight, tell them that you love them. Every. Damn. Day.
And the next time your child wants to play with your phone, even though they have peanut butter all over their hands and will just delete all your apps and make the screen too bright and you don't know how to change it back...let them do it. And appreciate the fact that you're witnessing such beauty. As parents, it's the only thing we can do.
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