If He Never Came Back: A Story of Loss With A Chance To "Give Forward"

I think we all like the idea of "paying it forward". We like to be the recipient of it and we like to do it, when we can. I once went through a drive-through at a Smoothie King to learn that my smoothie had already been paid for when I got up to the window by the guy in front of me. The next time my kids and I went by that Smoothie King, my preschooler asked if our smoothies would be free again. The little dude just thought that is how it went at Smoothie King.

There is a site out there that is all about forward giving called Give Forward. Give Forward is a "crowdfunding" site that reportedly raises 21% more than other sites like it. I just spent less than 5 minutes on the site and came away feeling so inspired. There are so many people out there that want to help others. It is amazing to see the amount of money raised for some of the people featured on the main page of the Give Forward site. Money for people who have suffered a traumatic brain injury, children who are battling cancer, a young woman who had a massive stroke after surgery and more. Across the top of the page it says that Give Forward has raised over 92 MILLION (million!) dollars for individuals in need.

Need Help with Medical Bills? Raise More with GiveForward.com

That takes my breath away.

I love that Give Forward helps join families and communities together in a common goal to help someone dealing with something pretty major. It gives people a place to help. It gives people an alternative to bringing over another pot of baked beans. Baked beans are certainly a welcomed sight and we need food to get through each day, but baked beans are hard to put through credit card machines and they squish up pretty badly inside envelopes.

There was no Give Forward back in the 80s. I guess people collected money in mailboxes and stuff and helped people out that way. I think back to friends who went through some really trying times and wonder how they would have felt to be the recipient of some Give Forward generosity.

We recently used Give Forward to help raise money for my friend Courtney of Our Small Moments. I wrote this post on her behalf back in September. This fundraiser for her raised over $16,000. I wanted to share the story with you to show you the power of what this site can do for you or someone you know who is dealing with something heavy.

I stared at my husband's flip flops a little longer than usual this morning. I stared at them and then I put them on my feet. I walked around. I stood there. Squished my toes into the soles.

I was mesmerized for a while. Deep in thought. I wondered what I would do if I saw those flip flops on the floor and knew that he would never wear them again because he wasn't coming back.

What would I do if I knew that I'd never see him again?

I think I would have collapsed into a heap and cried until I fell asleep.

Right there in the hallway.

Some people face this sadness due to a spouse that leaves from unhappiness. Some children face this sadness due to a dad that doesn't want to be around anymore.

But, some people face this devastation because their husband has passed away.

And, I cry.

Since I was a little girl, I was terrified of someone in my family dying. I think I've been to at least 20 funerals in my lifetime. At night, I'd pray for the longest time that angels would surround my house and protect all of us inside. I'd go through a long list and pray that everyone I knew would be healthy and safe and free from harm. I felt that if I left someone off the list, I would be contributing to their demise should it happen.

When the phone rings now at odd times during the day or night, I catch my breath. I pray that no one is on the other line saying someone I love has died in an accident or from a heart attack.

Or from cancer.

It's as if I want heaven on earth. No harm, no hurting, no pain, no tears, no sadness, no death.

We all want that.

Right now, a friend of mine named Courtney from the blog Our Small Moments is deep in grief. She, along with her two children, McCartney (8) and Anastasia (6), are dealing with the fact that the man they love so deeply is here no more.

The one that made them laugh. (Courtney said he was the class clown.)

The one that played them music.

The one that gave them hugs.

The one that made them feel better.

The one that Courtney met as a camp counselor.

The one that Courtney married in 2002.

His name was Scott.

He was 34.

And he passed away on Monday, August 12, 2013, after a brief battle with cancer.

We all want to do something for Courtney. We wish that we could turn back time, find that ugly cancer and throw it out on the street. The one thing that we know we can do is band together to help Courtney with the bills she is facing now, the future she is facing without him and the financial hardships that will happen as a result.

So, we give.

I so wish that Courtney was not the only one that I knew he faced such a terrible loss. I can think of four people immediately that have lost the loves of their lives to illness in the last couple of years, two of those from cancer. One of those who also has small children at home. It pains my heart like I know it pains yours.

Photo by Courtney Fitzgerald of Our Small Moments

Courtney's fundraiser has ended. I hope you will consider stopping by her Facebook page or blog, Our Small Moments, to show her your support. She is a wonderful, fun and inspirational person. I know she will be happy to see your face over there. She just wrote a post called "The Things That I Miss About Being Married" that I bet you would love. Knowing you.

In closing, I hope you will consider Give Forward to raise money for people that you know who are in need. You can find information about them in the sidebar of my blog and you can also go to their website here.