Gavin's legacy continues to spread.
This afternoon, Ed, Brian and I drove into Philadelphia to the Gift of Life Family House.
We met two women that, until today, were just friendly voices on the phone. Sara Cohen works at the Family House as the Development Coordinator. She has continuously kept me up to date on the donations that are rolling in in honor of Gavin. Lara Moretti is a licensed social worker and the supervisor of the Family Support Services. Early on she made sure I had all the literature I needed - reading material for us and registration pamphlets for Gavin's funeral. And, she acted as MY social worker one day on the phone when I needed someone to talk to. I was so happy to meet these lovely women.
The reason we were there today? Well, Ed's very generous former co-workers and friends from Accenture pledged a ridiculous amount of money to the Family House so we could dedicate one of their beautiful guest rooms in Gavin's name. We had three different rooms from which to choose. I don't know if you believe in signs - but we do. Ed and I completely agreed that Gavin chose his own room today - and made it very clear to us. Honestly, even if you don't "believe" in signs - you have to admit that when things line up and just make sense, there's a comfort in that.
We chose room 407. The plaque will say
"In Honor of Gavin Leong"
"Accenture Friends & Alumni Memorial Fund"
The even numbered rooms face the city, a beautiful view.
But as soon as we heard what room 407's view was - that was it. We knew this was Gavin's room. The view is of the blue bridge in the distance.
At night it's illuminated. Gavin would have loved that.
And the view below? The memorial garden which has a gorgeous blue fountain...
...and another trickling fountain in a garden of Hydrangeas.
A child's garden with adorable adirondack chairs surrounded by butterfly bushes...
...and the most beautiful butterfly stamped into the concrete.
Could the signs have been any clearer? Lights... music... butterflies.
And then I turned from the window in their beautiful guest room and saw the blue print on the wall. I had noticed the art in the other rooms - equally beautiful, but this was the only one with blue!
It just so happens - like icing on this already perfect cake - that their "Serenity Room" is on that floor and just around the corner from Gavin's room. Our Buddha baby would have loved this zen-like room with a table top fountain and blue walls.
Yes, we believe in signs.
We are also able to choose a plaque to dedicate to Gavin on their Founder's Circle wall. I'm working on something special for that.
Ed and I were really impressed with the Family House and have plans to volunteer there in some capacity down the road. They provide an invaluable service to transplant families that otherwise would be sleeping in hospital waiting rooms or spending an exorbitant amount of money on hotels. There has been a family there for an entire year while their loved one is waiting at a local hospital for donor organs! (Please, please register to be a donor today!) They charge only $40 per family per night which includes so many amenities including food and snacks. a gym, playroom with toys and videos and games... you can even get your hair cut and styled there and so much more!
If you are still looking for a way to honor my birthday request - or simply want a unique way to honor Gavin - I have a great idea for you. You can be local - or you can live thousands of miles away. In my original "In Lieu of Flowers" request, I simply suggested making monetary donations to the Family House. But today I found out they need so much more. Paper Goods, Laundry Items, Kitchen Items, Gift Cards and Pantry Items. If you are local, perhaps you could host a "Wish List Drive" - I may do this around Gavin's birthday at the end of September in my own neighborhood. Then you could deliver it to the Family House and see Gavin's plaque and visit their beautiful memorial garden! If you are not local, you could still participate. Perhaps purchase items on Amazon for delivery - or a few gift cards to Wal-Mart, Target, gas cards, etc. If you click HERE, you will see the items on the wish list and an address at the bottom if you'd like to ship a delivery. Be sure you write that it's in memory of Gavin!
You can run with this and do something really unique as a way to remember this little boy of mine who, without ever saying one word, has spoken volumes to all of us. Not about his death. Not about tragedy. But how to live.
And how to give the gift of life.
Looks like the Gift of Life Family House has a brand new angel in the house.
Thank you to all of our friends and Ed's former colleagues at Accenture for this profoundly generous and important gift. We feel honored that you would look to memorialize our sweet son in such a beautiful way. And, beyond the money you pledged to do this, the experience is helping to heal our hearts. You can't put a price on that.