Last night something amazing happened. A tiny act, yet monumental in my life. Something that has changed me forever. 15-hours ago I was a different person than I am now sitting here and typing this.
Why you ask?
While scrolling thru my FB feed while walking my dogs when I got home from work last night I saw that two of my friends had “liked” a picture of a gorgeous newborn baby. And the caption under it caught my attention. When I got inside and settled in, I started to follow the link to the Facebook page that this picture had come from and what I found, I will never forget. It so profoundly moved me, I spent from 845pm until well after 2am pouring over this blog. Sobbing. In fact my eyes are still swollen and stinging from last night. It was THAT kind of crying.
Two friends, who have absolutely nothing to do with each other. One a sorority sister from college, a pledge sister from 20 years ago that without Facebook we would not be back in each other’s lives. (and of course for that I’m eternally grateful.<3) The other friend, is someone I met completely through social media and has touched my life in the year that I’ve known her. She’s become a confidante, a friend and someone I admire. I was introduced to her through another amazing online friend I met a few years ago, who has also been an amazing source of comfort and friendship, also met by chance.
But nothing happens by accident. Nothing.
There’s no such thing as a coincidence either. (For those NCIS viewers, Gibbs is on to something with that.)
I NEEDED to find that blog last night.
I NEEDED to hear the story of the Leong Family.
I needed to be reminded the frivolity of my problems in comparison to those of so many fighting difficult battles out there. It’s so easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day troubles we have.
The stress of a day with children.
The annoyance of traffic when you’re running late.
Coming up short on bills.
Not being able to afford the things that you want.
These are minor nuisances that we encounter and deal with. They absolutely can frustrate us, bring us down, stress us out and cause anxiety. I know because I’ve been all those things and more over the past few weeks.
I kid you not, because I had no idea what rabbit hole of reading I was about to fall into, I sat riveted reading blog entry after blog entry on my iPhone! With my iPad and laptop just inches away, it took hours before my phone started to run out of charge and I decided I wanted to be able to read in a tad larger print and grabbed my iPad where I had trouble not staying up all night to continue reading.
And I read the most tragic story of my life.
I wanted to reach through the computer and hug Kate. I wanted to tell her that I admire her and that she has changed my life by her writing. Her outlook. Her strength. Her poise. Her honestly as brutal as some may have found it, I found refreshing. Sometimes life sucks. Sometimes just being sad and upset and crying is all we can do. But with the incredible pain and loss that Kate and her family has endured she stands there and tells her story, and that’s what it is, a story, of the road they’ve traveled to become parents. The life they’ve endured caring for a special needs child who was never supposed to survive but lived for 5.5 wonderful years. Kate likes to credit her son, her 5.5 year old angel Gavin with being a superhero. I think Kate is a superhero. She never preaches. She never made me feel uncomfortable for not sharing the same faith. Yet as I read her entries one after another and another, and yet another, word after word echoed the feelings I was having. Or feelings I’ve had in the past. I found myself crying, but saying “Yes! Yes! She gets it. This is it!” so many times in the course of those 5-hours last night.
I don’t know that I could ever endure what Kate and her family has and come out the other side, but as she says on her blog, no one thinks they can but somehow we do.
When I finally decided I had no choice but to close up my iPad and try to get some sleep I knew that I was changed. I felt it inside. I wrote both of those friends above that I mentioned that introduced me to this moving experience and thanked them. Without knowing they had done so, without thinking about anything but simply liking a picture on a page that thousands of thousands of people follow, they had changed my life.
And nothing happens by accident.
When I got out of the shower this morning, I grabbed my towel and thought, “wow, that was THE BEST shower I’ve ever taken!” and then thought, wow, I would never had thought anything about a 7am shower before work before last night. To me a shower is a “have to” something I do but don’t find enjoyment or excitement in it normally. It’s just another chore in our lives.
Then it was time for preschool drop-off. I absolutely adore the school, it’s absolutely amazing, but the parking sucks. Well we turned onto the street and POW! Rock star parking!! And I smiled. I smiled because it was more evidence of how much reading about the Leong family had changed my life last night. How Kate had inspired me to find happiness and beauty in the little things, because life is made up of a lot of little things, and sometimes, those little things, those are the things that keep us going every day.
For those of you that know me personally or those of you who have been following my teeny blog for the past few years know that the past 4 years of my life have been less than stellar. There’s been heartbreak. There’s been sadness. There’s been uncovered repressed memories. There’s been drama and turmoil and unhappy times.
Music has ALWAYS been my outlet. Sometimes writing, but that’s a newer outlet for me. There have been songs that have changed my life entirely. They’ve inspired me to make decisions in my life I’m not sure I would have ever made had I not really heard that song. So I’m not being dramatic when I say that “meeting” Kate and her family has changed my life as well.
The song “Something More” by Sugarland inspired me to leave my job in corporate America working for CNET, to do something that made me feel fulfilled. It led me to where I am now. Just a song. A song that was written and sung for millions of people and may just be a song to so many but is and always will be so much more to me.
When I hear it, I can remember how I felt listening to it day in and day out when it first came on the radio, and how when I was really listening I realized it was talking to me.
There’s gotta be something more
Gotta be more than this
I need a little less hard time
I need a little more bliss
I’m gonna take my chances
Taking a chance I might
Find what I’m looking for
There’s gotta be something more
Some believe in destiny, and some believe in fate
I believe that happiness is something we create
You best believe that I’m not gonna wait
‘Cause there’s gotta be something more
Those words, in just the chorus and that one verse, they changed me.
And last night, Kate’s story, Kate’s battles, Kate’s life stories, they changed me.
I will never be the same, and I’m glad.
I will never take things for granted.
I will never think poor me ever again over something trivial.
Kate inspired me.
Gavin, her son’s story inspired me.
I WILL be talking about them a lot more, and I will be starting a project of giving in Gavin’s name, which was Kate’s wish on her birthday last April.
To partake in random acts of kindness in Gavin’s name or with Gavin on your mind. I try to do them often, but, it’s easy to get stuck in your own sadness, own grief, own crazy life and forget. I won’t be forgetting any time soon. Gavin changed me. Kate changed me more. Gavin was a superhero in his short little life, but Kate is the ultimate hero in my eyes.
“You truly can find hope and inspiration and important life lessons in your own lives…….even when the path seems impossible to walk” ~ Kate Leong, as part of the Eulogy she read at Gavin’s funeral in April 2013.
If you haven’t clicked on any links above, because obviously I want to share this family, this story with everyone I can, please check out her Facebook page “Chasing Rainbows” or her blog/personal journal at www.KateLeong.com
If just one person is inspired by their story like I was, it will make me happy.
Thank you for reading this ramble of emotions. This epiphany of sorts. Thank you for standing by me always. Thank you for allowing me to begin my hobby of writing and being here to read it and make me feel validated. Thank you for being you, because I am so blessed and lucky and I don’t want a day to go by without remembering that. ❤
………….and remember, don’t ever forget to chase rainbows.