Thursday, October 24, 2013

We'll Never Stop Telling His Story...

This morning was really special.  Miss Sara and I went back to the place where so many wonderful memories were made...
...Gavin's school.

We were so excited to meet the new teacher, Joanna, that has taken over for Gavin's teacher, Megan.  The classroom looks great - and three of Gavin's friends that are still there (the others graduated to Kindergarten!) looked happy as can be.  Joanna has a very calming presence and is such a nice person.  I know Gavin would have loved her if he had returned to that class.  She was so nice to ask me to bring in a photo of Gavin that she could hang up permanently in the room.  Obviously, this meant the world to me.  But when I saw what she already had hanging right inside the door when you walk in - and where the picture was going to go - it took my breath away.  She sent me this photo this afternoon after she hung his picture...
If you're wondering what the sign in the middle is - it's a short explanation of Gavin's trust project.  Whenever something is bought with the money from the trust - whether it's for a classroom or a child to use at home - this will go with the item(s) - 
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This item has been made available for use through the 
Gavin’s Trust Project: Making the Impossible Possible  

The Gavin's Trust Project was created by the Leong family as a way to honor the unique ability their son had to change the lives of those around him without ever uttering a word.  This item was thoughtfully purchased to help CCIU PSE teachers and therapists provide materials for students who may not have been otherwise able to afford the expense of, or had access to, special needs assistive technology devices and materials.

The greatest “Thank You” that you can give for the use of this item is to honor Gavin’s memory by returning it to your child’s teacher or therapist, once your child no longer has a need for it, so that another CCIU PSE student can benefit from the 
Gavin's Trust Project.

To Learn more about the Gavin's Trust Project, or Gavin’s life journey, please visit:
Chasing Rainbows at http://www.kateleong.com/

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I think it was emotional for Miss Sara to be back there, too.  She and Gavin spent their days together there.
But there was also another reason why we were there.  Ed and I wanted to donate copies of the book "The Invisible String" to the school.  Enough so that every teacher in every classroom and the school psychologist would have their own copy.  If, God forbid, a loss touches any of these students personally - this book can serve as a wonderful teaching and therapeutic tool to help them through their grief.  Much like it helped Brian after Gavin's death.  We were so happy to do this for the school that gave us so much love and support - while Gavin was there and even after he died.  I presented the books to the school principal, Dr. Pearsall, and told her I wanted Sara to take a picture of us.  What happened next left me quite speechless.

Gavin, as you know, had a love affair with water.  And there was a small sink in his classroom that was very motivating for him.  It motivated him to walk to it... and only ten days before he suddenly died, that little sink motivated him to communicate.  This is what happened - and this is that sink...

So, when I proposed taking a photo, Dr. Pearsall said there was a bulletin board we could use as a backdrop that said "Reading Helps You Meet New Friends."  Sounds good, I said!  Sara and I followed her down the hall... through a door... around the corner... and she stopped right in front of Gavin's sink.  She had no idea how special this spot was until we told her.  Clearly, Gavin was at work today and in that moment - I was sure that he was there.  He's always "there."
It's just amazing to me how Gavin's journey... his legacy... and his spirit continue to touch people all over the world.  I'm humbled, every day, to be his voice and to receive emails from people that tell me how following Gavin has changed them.  Changed them!!  Imagine... really... this little boy who never spoke who, to the outside world, was "different."  He's changing people.  Proving that, truly, we ALL can possess the power to change and affect people if we use our powers for good.  He did - and he continues to.

I'm so proud of Gavin's trust project, too, that is doing so much for children and families that receive services in our area.  As a matter of fact, I got an email early this morning from a teacher I have never met.  I was nervous this morning about going to Gavin's school and having a "moment" in my room away from Brian to shed a few tears.  I opened up my iPad and found this...
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Dear Kate,

I am a teacher in one of the new Multiple Disabilities classes that the preschool program at the CCIU opened this year (I’m right next door to Megan!).  I have never met Gavin and had not heard of him until after his death, but began following your blog and Facebook page after seeing posts from coworkers and hearing about Gavin’s Trust Project.  This was before I even knew I would be given the new classroom teaching position.  Now that I am in the classroom working with my students, I am getting to experience first hand the benefits of Gavin’s Trust Project.  We were able to purchase a device that allows one of my students to touch a button to choose between drink and food at meal times. We were also able to purchase an expanded version of the same device so we can allow him to choose between different types of drinks and food as he continues to grow and master this skill.  Another student is enjoying a variety of switch-activated toys.  We were even able to get her multiple switch options to help her activate the toys, which is helpful due to her limited range of motion.  All of my students will benefit from the new swings we just ordered.  It has been a blessing to be able to order these things for my students and I cannot thank you enough for starting this wonderful project.  Now I know why you call Gavin a superhero.  He has become one in our classroom and I have proudly placed the blue butterfly on my wall to tell his story to everyone who enters our room.  Thank you for starting this project to honor Gavin and support our students.  I hope you know how much it is truly appreciated.  What you have said about Gavin is proving to be true – he is inspiring others and affecting the lives of those who have never met him.  

Sincerely,
Miss Lisa

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Instantly, this calmed my nerves.  And it caused my heart to swell with pride.  

Knowing that Gavin's healing spirit is being spread all over makes this terrible tragedy just a little bit more bearable.  I am so proud to be his Mommy.

If you would like more information on Gavin's Trust Project, you can read THIS POST... or look on the right side of my blog for how you can participate.
Gavin, Mommy, Daddy and Brian miss you and love you so much.  And we'll never stop telling your story.



5 comments:

  1. The butterfly display in Miss Joanna's room, Dr. Pearsall and the sink, the legacy of Gavin's project...seems like Gavin IS with you every where you go. Of course he is. His full legacy is as yet unknown. How awesome. What a gift you were given!

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  2. I'm new to your story, I didn't hear until after Gavin's passing. His birthday would have been my grandmother's 74th birthday, but we lost her in June. Before reading your entries this week, I have spent the last 5 days reading your story. All of it that you gifted us with through the Caringbridge site and your transition to this new site on the last day of May in 2011. I won't even begin to say that I could comprehend the amount of strength required to open up your life to the general public as you have for so long. You mentioned in earlier posts that you are just a mom… and not to be put on a pedestal, but I beg to differ. As a mom, you rightfully belong there, as do the parents around the world who provide love and care to the children in their care… not 'normal' or 'special needs', but all children, they are a true blessing. I don't suggest that any child is more precious, but the ones who leave us too soon engrave so deeply in our hearts. I was so heart heavy when I heard of your story, and I am sorry for your loss; your's, Ed's, Brian's. Your story REALLY touched my heart. Brian's outlook has helped me to process the losses in my life with less trepidation. My grandmother would have loved sharing her birthday with someone as awesome as Gavin lived his life, and I suppose that they did, this year's reservations were the same locale.I'm looking forward to seeing what Brian and eventually Hope will do next. I'm sure she will have a place in my heart just as your other kids now do. I also didn't want to be tactless but I felt that I have to say, I hope that I can be as good of a spokesman for my son as we try to navigate through the programs at school as you have been for Gavin, and still are. Brian and Hope have a wonderful advocate on their side, while ~Darcy~ and ~Gavin~ have ringside seats… Take care of yourself, that little girl needs to bake a little bit more…

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  3. Gavin's bravery and what we see here of his wonderful personality...I am not surprised that everyone who reads his story is changed. Your story and his are interwoven, your whole family is an inspiration. And I never say things like that! ps. you are looking fab!

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  4. This is an amazing story-- thanks for sharing this special day that you and Miss Sara had at Gavin's school- I cry every time I open a blog post of yours.

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  5. I love your stories ... Gavin still lives on.

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