Last week I saw an interesting news clip. It was about a lady in her 80's who volunteers in a children's cancer ward and gives out toys to young patients. She buys the toys with her own money and truly enjoys watching their joy as she hands them something that takes their mind off their treatment. She does this because years ago, she too had a sick child with cancer and from that experience understands the importance of helping a child and their parents, through a difficult illness.
I've been thinking about this since seeing this clip because lately, I've heard of other stories with a similar theme.
Parents in Ontario who lost a child to cancer a few months ago have set up swabbing events all across the province and beyond, to help match healthy donors with those in need of stem cell transplants.
This past Sunday we sadly heard about the death of Barbara Turnbull, a woman who made the news 32 years ago when she was shot during a burglary and became a paraplegic. She went on to become a very well respected journalist, and by all accounts, did not allow her situation to 'handicap' the person she was and wanted to be.
The legacy of a young boy, a young girl, a young woman and their families........is something they all have in common. They did not allow their own tragedy to define them. They were all dealt a horrible hand in life but have taken what they have had no choice but to accept and turned it into something positive - something that will help others to perhaps not go through what they did and ease the pain of those who do.
Sometimes small gestures can turn into something big. Sometimes giving someone hope or comfort or companionship makes a difference beyond anything one can imagine or expect. Everyone has their burdens to bear but what matters is how we deal with the cards in our deck. I think most people want to live a life of meaning - not everyone knows how - some people are fortunate to be able to choose; others have it chosen for them. Perhaps its not about how much time we have on this earth but what we do with that time and how we impact and touch others that is the true meaning of life.
I am reminded of a poem I read years ago called The Dash (written by Linda Ellis) http://www.linda-ellis.com/the-dash-the-dash-poem-by-linda-ellis-.html. It basically refers to 'the dash' on a tombstone between the date of birth and date of death. The dash is our legacy; the memories we leave behind in others....
" ...For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth....
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line is worth.
For it matters not how much we own;
The cars...the house...the cash.
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash....."