Today was a very special day.
Very, very special.
We honored Gavin during his birthday month by helping organ donor recipients and their families at the Gift of Life Family House in Philadelphia. I have written about the Family House several times and Ed, Brian and I went there in June for a tour and to choose a guest room to be dedicated to Gavin. You can read about that HERE.
But today we were going there to be "Home Cook Heroes" and to deliver a car load filled with items from the "Wish List Drive" I held in my neighborhood this month.
Thanks to my wonderful Sunwood Farm neighbors for dropping off items for the Family House pantry, laundry room, kitchen and more to our home over this month. We also received gift cards and donations totaling over $1,175! My Mom, my sister, Bean and her family, Miss Sara and her parents also contributed to the drive and we were so grateful to deliver so many items in honor of Gavin's birthday.
When we first walked in, we were greeted by Gavin's plaque on their entry way wall. Thanks to the enormous amount of donations that came in from our "In Lieu Of Flowers" request before Gavin's funeral... and the extremely generous donations from Ed's friends and former co-workers at Accenture, we were able to write our own plaque as a permanent dedication to our sweet boy. It took our breath away to see it there.
Ed and I are so, so grateful to a local business owner, Claire Guarino, who runs (the most brilliant business idea ever) Home Cooked in Paoli, PA. Claire came with her husband, Paul, and their little boy, Ian!
Home Cooked is where you can purchase already prepared home cooked meals - you can order ahead with any specifications you want (gluten free - I don't like garlic - I have allergies, etc.) and stock your freezer with meals for the month. It's a great gift for newlyweds, new parents, or your older parents who are impossible to buy Christmas presents for. (My family did that for my parents and it was a huge hit one year!!) We purchased a weeks worth of pre-made meals when we went to the beach for a week. It was great to not have to go to the grocery store at the shore - or spend a ton of money going out to eat several times. You can also pop into Home Cooked on a whim and choose from their "grab and go" case. I've heard that some women throw away their "Home Cooked" containers and receipts and never tell their husband that they didn't make dinner. I've never done that. Trust me. Ed would NEVER believe me. If you live in my area, definitely visit Home Cooked - and tell Claire that Gavin sent you! Or, if you know someone who lives near me - you could purchase a gift card for them over the phone! (Can you tell I love this business??)
Thanks so much to Claire for generously donating and prepping the food for this evening. She was so organized and quickly set up stations so we could all help assemble and prepare for dinner and dessert.
We called ourselves "Team Super G" and had a blue theme, of course. Gavin looked best in blue. We all wore blue shirts... and our Super G pins.
Except Brian - who wore his "Super G" shirt - and his awesome "Super G" Nikes.
My sister, Bean (Gavin's Godmother!) and our nephew, Brendan worked on the Brocolli Slaw...
Our brother in law, Jim, was constantly busy in the kitchen - but I caught him cutting out cards to help the guests identify what the foods were on the buffet when I snapped this...
Miss Sara and Granny worked on the desserts...
...and our nieces Claire and Shannon iced the brownie bites!
Everyone worked so hard and it all came together beautifully.
I had some anxiety going into this event. Worried that I would become too emotional... (I didn't)... or that I would make any of the recipients or their families feel uncomfortable in any way since this was done in memory of my little boy who was a donor... (that didn't happen, either!). None of my fears were realized and I actually had a couple really lovely conversations.
I was so happy, too, that my family could get a tour of the Family House - including Gavin's guest room which was vacant! The plaque outside the guest room made us feel so special. And my family agreed that we chose the perfect room to honor Gavin. It has a view of the Ben Franklin Bridge - which is blue and is lit up at night. Gavin would have loved that. It also has a view of the garden below which has hydrangeas... butterfly bushes... and trickling fountains. Gavin would have loved that, too. And on the same floor - just a couple doors down - is their blue "Serenity Room" which has a trickling fountain and is very zen like... perfect for our little Buddha baby.
Tonight meant so much to us. Ed and I were so touched that everyone gave up their afternoon... devoted their time... their resources and their hearts to make this happen.
Thank you, Team Super G!!
And to Gavin... our Superhero. The fact that you were an organ donor makes us so proud - and brings us such comfort. But your legacy, truly, is the way your story is touching people - and inspiring them to become organ donors. Even encouraging them to start having conversations about organ donation before they are in the midst of a tragedy. Maybe your kidneys saved one man's life... but what you've done since could possibly save hundreds, if not more. I know, with all of my heart, that this had to be part of your mission on Earth.
Superhero Gavin, off to save lives... even still. But the first lives he saved were his Mommy and Daddy's.
You will always be OUR greatest gift of life.