Memories are like a dream. I know that for 22 months I dreamed about a little boy who took possession of a part of my soul that simply completed me in a way that words cannot adequately describe. In my memories, Rees, born with a true knot in his umbilical cord – a cord wrapped around his neck twice, defied death and entered the world undaunted. The more I recall this dream, the more detached I find myself from its narrative, a spectator, not a participant. It’ s as though I see some alternate version of me, an avatar of my real self, lifting Richie, singing to him, cradling him and telling him how much I love him. From afar, I see little Rees growing from a plumpy, buddha-like baby into a skinny, yet solid, little toddler – filled with curiosity. In these memories I witness the dream-like version of … Read More
Back in the 1960’w My father and 4 of his brothers purchased 76 acres of property in upstate NY, simply referred to as, “the hill”, to provide a place for them to practice their mutual love of hunting. Though I never shared my father’s fondness of hunting, the beauty of the property and the seemingly endless natural wonders it possessed holds a special place in my heart. Memories of walking through the woods with my father guiding my eye towards nature’s hidden spoils fill my heart with happiness – and a longing to have just one more opportunity to do that again. The day my father died I remember one of my initial feelings was sadness that I would never again be able to enjoy “the hill” with him again, but also gratitude for the memories that I would forever hold dear.
The day my son was born one of … Read More
Tonight I was reminded of yet another change wrought by the loss of my little boy. While out at our local deli with my girls, Abby and Lori, Lori accidentally closed the sliding door of the freezer on her sisters hand. Abby’s immediate, and deafening response stopped me dead in my tracks. I instantly felt the same fear I had upon my discovery of Rees after the accident… memories and feelings of helplessness instantly flooded me and paralyzed me.
Before Rees’ accident I was always very level headed with my children concerning injuries and pain. Sam counts on my measured response in those situations, and up until Rees died I always kept my cool when things went wrong. The day Rees died, in one terrible moment, my imperturbable nature instantly eroded and I was a frantic mess. I knew CPR, but couldn’t remember the timings. I couldn’t remember where my… Read More
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 … Read More
I wrote the other day about what I am now labeling the hurricane effect: the creation of something beautiful from a devastating storm – and thought about how appropriate a metaphor a storm is concerning the loss of a child. Storms are intense, violent and destructive forces of nature that are indifferent to our seemingly insignificant lives. Losing a child fills you with intense feelings that roil like the waters stirred up in the wake of a storm. Much like a storm initially bellows with a surge of water, the loss of a child fills you with a deluge of despair, and anger. And just as we are powerless to stop the tidal surge from a storm, a parent who loses a child is powerless to fortify themselves against the raw emotions that ravage their souls. The turbulent, storm fueled, wave of despair fundamentally disrupts the natural rhythm of our … Read More
Edward Lorenz coined the term “the butterfly effect” when he tried to explain chaos theory and the consequences of small changes on an overall system. He rationed that in chaos, it was possible that the flapping of a butterfly’s wings weeks before could set forth a chain reaction of events that eventually leads to a hurricane somewhere else on the globe. This effect is difficult to quantify and effectively impossible to predict. The very nature of chaos dictates that we should not be able to witness the butterfly effect in action, however we can easily discern its result. I always believed that Lorenz was right, until tonight…
Tonight as my family and I attended the First Annual ReesSpecht Life Kindness Games at Tackan Elementary school in Nesconset NY I looked at all the people present and could not get over the fact that every single one of those people was … Read More