My important now is some pretty important things. Saturday is our seventh annual Happy Smackah. Braden Stevenson is our recipient this year, and he and his family are in need of our help, and we are honored to have a part in helping.
I always get reflective this time of year, as the Smackah approaches. Our friends and community created this for us. Most of the original crew are still involved, and others have eagerly joined to make the Happy Smackah a St.Vrain Valley tradition. I’m so humbled by how hard this community, our friends, and so many people I don’t even know, work to come together to make someone else’s life better.
And, of course, I remember where I was, when Danny and I needed so much support.
My memories of Danny’s hospitalization, the trauma, have been brought a little too close to home though. My cousin’s daughter is in critical condition, in a coma, fighting for her life, and she has been for weeks. My cousin just posted that she finally went home from her bedside vigil for her daughter today after three weeks.
I’ve been in contact with her and her brother, who is back down in Texas with her. I’ve privately asked her brother about a few things, a few thoughts I had about coping during these times. They both latched on to my advice. At one point, I said, in a private message, that I understood, but that wasn’t much help. My cousin said, “It absolutely is.”
That brought me to some big tears. That brought me a humility I felt with my whole being.
I have been sending every single fiber of prayer and positive thinking to my cousins. To my little cousin fighting for her life, to my (still think of as little cousins but who are now amazing adults) cousins every day, throughout the day.
At the risk of sounding cliche, philosophical, or spiritual, or trite, Danny and I often recognize that what he went through, what we went through, is a gift. It’s a gift to be recognizable and relatable to others who are going through suffering.
My cousins are suffering, and it is all too familiar. I have said this often: when I felt at my lowest when Danny was battling, I would go over to Children’s Hospital and get a reality check. Danny and I have been lucky to have what we have. To have a child fight...well, that’s different.
So, here are my cousins, fighting, fearing. I don’t have any wisdom, and yet they do find comfort in knowing I know. It’s so deeply humbling.
Danny and I have an expression for these moments, when we feel this grace, this connection to others simply because people trust that we understand. It happens in our lives with friends, old friends and strangers. We say, “It’s a lot.” We mean it in every sense of what that sounds like. We mostly mean it’s a lot that we are gifted with and humbled by.
And on Saturday, the seventh annual Happy Smackah is for a young man who embodies the spirit of the Happy Smackah. He is a fighter and happy and brave. We are all so pleased to come together to help Braden and his family.
Goal: reach out to others more. Healing, hope, and love for my cousins.
Gratitude: others who reach out to us.