Want to know what gets me every single time?
I'm not one to burst into tears - or even get choked up - in moments you'd probably expect me to. I can talk openly about Gavin - about his life and his death - without a single tremble in my voice. Sometimes I wonder if that's an issue - but most times I think it's just one of those things that don't need analysis.
But, helicopters. They wreck me.
Yesterday, I found myself standing under the giant, intimidating blade of a medical evacuation helicopter. I could barely hold it together.
It was part of a community event we attended that allowed kids to climb into, tour and touch all different type of vehicles. Brian loved climbing into a bulldozer!
We were blissfully playing on the playground when I stopped breathing for a moment. A helicopter approaching. We soon realized it was landing on the field as part of the event, Brian wanted to go over to see it. I smiled and said "Let's go!"
As we walked, I prayed. Prayed that I'd somehow hold it together. Prayed that if I didn't, that I would use it as a teachable moment. Prayed as I always do for the crew that has one of the hardest jobs there is.
As we walked across the field, my prayer was interrupted with a shriek. "Look! A butterfly!" Brian exclaimed. And off they went to chase it...
We made it to the helicopter and walked under the giant blade to get to the door. The crew guided Brian in so he could look around.
I could barely see.
The tears were streaming down my face as I took this picture of one son as I mourned openly for his brother. These dang helicopters get me every single time. And I'll tell you why. It was a rare moment for me to not be by Gavin's side. But on April 10, 2013 - after the emergency room team brought him back from death - a helicopter arrived to rush him to another hospital an hours drive away. For me to hand him over to strangers - hoping he'd be alive when I saw him again - it was the hardest thing I had to do. I couldn't be there for him - and it still haunts me. So now, every time I see or hear a helicopter overhead - I flash back to that terrible moment on that awful day.
But you know what? I often think of Gavin's organs getting on a similar helicopter just five days later to rush to the airport to get to the destination of his recipient. A strangely comforting twist of fate.
Today my family and I were invited to an event hosted by the Gift of Life Donor Program. During this event, which celebrated and thanked their many volunteers, they honored me (meaning US - meaning YOU!) with the Fundraising Ambassador Award. (The family picture they took of us will be added later - Ed and Hope were there, too! And so was my Mom!)
If you remember, last November I held a 40 hour fundraiser for the Family House. Together with many of you, we raised $10,820... in forty hours! Here is what was said about me... about you... about us.
You don't have to still be here with us.
You didn't have to donate to any of the fundraisers I've held in Gavin's memory.
You don't even have to comment on anything I write or do.
But please, if I can ask one thing...
Please don't forget my son.
Please remember Gavin David Leong.
And if you ever see a Medical helicopter flying overhead, say a prayer for that person, that crew, and everyone waiting for... needing... a safe landing.