ReesSpecht Life is proud to announce that we are booking school shows (and other institutions)  for this summer and next school year (2015-2016).

If you are interested in having Rich come and share our message of kindness and how a change in our perspectives can make the world a better place, contact the foundation at [email protected] or call 631-353-9924.

Dates are filling up fast!

RSL Flyer-3

 

IMG_0719(1)The finality of death is never really truly comprehended until you face it and stare down its gaping maw.  When I peer down the abyss I see that my little boy is gone forever from the mortal plane and will never, ever grace me with his physical presence ever again.  When I look around my home I see constant reminders of the life he lived for those brief 22 months.  I moved the couch the other day only to find one of his little cars that he no doubt left behind to pursue some other grand adventure and never, ever will play with again.  When I found it my initial reaction was to leave it there as it was something that connected him to me.  I did not want to “clean it up” as that symbolically would mean I am removing him even more from my world.  As time passes, finding pieces of him grows more and more rare yet those moments still arise, and when they do I am re-acquainted with that acute pain and recognition of his absence.

I recognized early on in this ordeal that the only way for my soul to survive this loss was to do something to honor his memory so that I, and my family, could keep his spirit alive for not just us but others as well.   I wanted, selfishly in some respects, to create something that would keep more than just his memory with me.  I endeavored to create something that would perpetuate his spirit for as long as I walk this Earth and in the process do something that would make an impact in other’s lives.  ReesSpecht Life was born out of the dual dynamic of self-preservation and a need to help others as we were helped.  ReesSpecht life is what mitigates those dark times when I find pieces of Rees with the hope that we can make a difference in this world in his name.

Our first step at making a difference occurred in April as we purchased meals for 3 families in our community that were dealing with their own significant losses.  Sam and I could not help but feel Rees’ presence when we made that order.  The next, and most financially significant goal we accomplished, was awarding our two $1000.00 scholarships in Rees’ name at our district’s two High Schools.  I felt Rees’ spirit in that auditorium the night we awarded those scholarships, and I know that all of those present felt it too.  That night I saw Rees making a difference in other’s lives from beyond the barrier of death and it elevated my soul to a new plane.

Our most recent attempt at making a difference is the first act that affirms what I wrote in my essay “Why?”(click link to read if you have not already).  A month or so ago my wife was informed about a little girl named Julia who was diagnosed with a rare form of Leukemia.  This brave little girl had been in and out of hospitals for the past couple of years and has not yet conquered the cancer trying to claim her.  When asked what she wanted the most she stated very simply: “a pen pal”.  Upon hearing this my daughter Abigail, who is Julia’s age,  immediately volunteered to be her pen pal.  We then asked family members if there was anything else she required or wanted and we were told that there were special head coverings she preferred so we ordered them.  Her family told us that due to the nature of her illness she had to limit her contact with others due to her compromised immune functioning.

A pen pal, it seems, was one way for little Julia to connect to someone outside of the medical personnel and immediate family members that attend to her on daily basis.  Abigail was excited about the prospect of writing to Julia but lamented the fact she would not be able to meet with her until she was healthy.  It was at that moment that my little girl had the idea of making the pen pal something more than pen and paper.  She recognized that if it were impossible for others to visit with her directly, perhaps there was another way to talk to her and make contact:  through Apple’s facetime on an iPad.  I immediately asked Samantha if we could do this through the foundation and we  purchased the iPad and a ReesSpecht Life case and waited until the time was right to give the gift to Julia and her family.

Sadly, Julia’s health has gone through more downs than ups recently and coordinating a meeting just was not feasible.  A couple of weeks ago I spoke with Julia’s Mom, Erin trying to arrange a meeting so we could present this gift to her.  Her strength and resolve to do whatever she could for her little girl resonated so strongly with me.  She commented on how strong she thought my wife and I were for doing what we are doing in Rees’ name, but I told her it is she who is the strong one.  What happened to Rees literally happened in an instant and our pain was acute.  Julia’s mother has endured the torturous act of watching her little girl grapple with a disease that has a 50% chance of killing her and has remained steadfast in her determination to see her daughter get better.  I understand all to well that perspective is a funny thing in these matters, and strength is merely an outsiders interpretation of how people survive in circumstances they never wish to find themselves in.

We sent the package to Julia yesterday, and she received her iPad today.  Julia’s Mom texted my wife the picture you see attached.  If ReesSpecht Life were to suddenly cease to exist from this moment on that picture will stay with me forever as a reminder that we accomplished what we set out to do:  change the world.  When I say change the world it is all a matter of perspective as the world we changed wasn’t the Earth as a whole, it was Julia’s.  My little boy continues to grant me the gift of perspective and with this new found perspective I see things much differently than I used to.  Looking at that picture I see my two smiles – one from a little girl who now can make contact with others where previously she could not, and the other from my little boy whose spirit made that possible.  Our little boy’s life was brief, but in that picture I can see his legacy is eternal.

 

P.S.  If you wish to support Julia in her fight against cancer you can follow her facebook group here:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Team-Julia/209083372495616

We can all be Superheros!

We can all be Superheros!

Over the past couple of months one of the most frequent questions I have been asked is “What can I do to help?”.  Well the answer is simple:  Pay it forward. We have been sending out ReesSpecht Life cards all over the country (and internationally too) – with the hope that each card represents a reminder to people who recieved a random act of kindness to pay it forward themselves.  In order for this to work people need to believe in the power of paying it forward and the chain reaction it can create.

Unfortunately, a chain is only as strong as it weakest link, and there are many cases where the card is passed on, but the chain is broken – and that is ok.  The act of kindness is what matters.  Don’t be discouraged if the card ends up in the trash if you pass it along, because for every card that gets discarded there is one that get passed on, helping someone else.

Sam and I are trying to work out just what we are going to do next.  So far ReesSpecht Life has made contributions to 3 area families who were suffering through tragic losses of their own.  We also donated money to Gavin’s trust (Chasing Rainbows)  and Brodie’s (the dog of our Logo’s creator, Adam Smith and his family) rehibilitation.  We will soon be awarding two scholarships to Seniors at each of the High Schools in our district and we have plans on the table for helping a very special little girl suffering a terrible illness in our community.

All of these things are possible because of the generosity of all Rees’ pieces.  So when you ask “What can I do to help?” – you are already doing it!  The support we have received in the past couple of months has been amazing.  All we is ask is that you keep us in mind when you think about doing kind acts.  Keep ordering those cards (remember that donations or completely optional!), send them out and let’s continue to make the world a better place, piece by piece.

Image courtesy of Chasing rainbows

Image courtesy of Chasing rainbows

Today ReesSpecht life had the opportunity to pay it forward to a kindred spirit.  I have been following the blog of Kate Leong  (www.kateleong.com) and her incredible story for a couple of weeks now.  Sadly, her Son Gavin passed away from an as yet unidentified affliction that he bravely fought through for 5 and 1/2 years.  Kate’s story is a sad one, yet it is also one of strength and hope.  Kate represents the best that we have to offer – and she gave it her all in trying to find a way to make Gavin’s life here special.  She recently started a trust called “Gavin’s Trust” and they have raised over $13,000.00 in the past 24 hours.  The trust is intended to provide needed materials  to help children serviced by the Chester County Intermediate Unit in their Pre-School Multiple Disabilities programs.  Kate herself acknowledged that she does not have the strength to start a foundation and “keep up a “foundation”… it’s all too much.”, as she wrote on her blog.  Well, that is where we come in.  When Sam and I decided to start ReesSpecht Life it was always about paying it forward.  Doing for others who have done so much for others already.  I had envisioned ReesSpecht life as a charity to help other charities.  Well here we are.  This cause represents the first real donation that our foundation has made to help others who are truly respecting life.  I would like to do more, but that of course depends on our supporters.   I do have the strength, Kate.  We are all here for you.  Stay strong and know that two super angels are out there, somewhere.   I have a feeling that Gavin and Rees are already great friends looking down on all of us and smiling.  Kate’s blog is called “Chasing Rainbows”, and while I don’t know if there is a pot of gold at the end of that Rainbow, Kate –  I do know there are Rees’ pieces 🙂

Sweet Dreams
“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.”
― Elie Wiesel

I would like to add to that quote:  The opposite of good is not evil, it is indifference.  Knowing something is wrong and not doing anything about because you don’t care, or cannot be bothered is tantamount to acceptance and/or support.  If we stand by everyday and brush off the things that we know are wrong just because we feel there is nothing we can do about it, we are ourselves guilty of allowing evil into the world.

Take the time to do something good; and regardless of the size of the gesture, you will make a positive change to the world.  Do not let apathy stop you from making a difference.  You may feel what you can do as an individual is insignificant and that you are powerless.  This is simply not true.  As a single person your voice may not be powerful, however as part of a larger collective the magnitude of our voices is limitless.  We can make a difference in this world, one Rees’ piece at a time.

Tractors:  My favorite!!

Tractors: My favorite!!

Tractors were, by far and away, Rees’ favorite thing.  The week before he died we took him to a farm to go pumpkin picking and there were tractors everywhere.  I remember commenting to Samantha that he was in tractor heaven.  His eyes lit up with each new iteration of tractor he saw.  At 22 months old, Rees was not a big talker, but he could say TRACTOR quite well.  He kept looking around frantically pointing and saying, “Tractor!”, “Tractor!” – all the while the largest smile I ever saw adorned his beautiful face.  Rees, on that day you were in “tractor heaven”, today it is my sincere hope that you have all the tractors you could ever want in heaven 🙂   I never got to have that tractor ride with you on my lap, save for in my dreams.  I look forward to the day when you and I can have that first ride together.  I love you, Son.  I miss you more than mere words can express.  You inspire me everyday, and even more importantly, you are inspiring others to make this world a little better.As I look back on his brief life, and the message we are trying to convey now, I can only wonder if his love of tractors, and their role as a cultivator,  is more than just coincidence…  afterall,  kindess is exactly what we are trying to culitivate with ReesSpecht life.  Keep culivating kindness, Rees.  Love, Daddy.