Commentary and Philosophy Non-Fiction posted December 4, 2016 Chapters:  ...70 71 -72- 73... 

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A chapter in the book Family 6

The Ultimate Gift

by Barb Hensongispsaca

* Warning: This will bring tears.

I was part of the potlatch challenge Saturday and the topic was one that I could choose my base for what I wanted to write. I almost skipped it because I had a message to deliver this Christmas to those who would care to hear. Then I thought about it and decided I could use that as a base for this writing. Let me refresh your memory here because I don't want it to seem I am looking for reviews.

What I wrote on the challenge is as follows:
Sapphonic Triad using the verse as stated...

'It's only words, and words are all I have
to take your heart away'.

I know you hurt
I feel your loss
your empty arms
your pain untold

just hear my words and always know
I'm here for you
together we'll survive

This is a new form using a quotation, then a 4 line stanza of 4 syllables each, then 8-4-6.

I work at Ronald McDonald house and get to meet a lot of different parents and some wonderful kids too. I know that most of you do not know what goes on there, and I challenge everyone that reads this to look on the internet. Read what they do but even more, I challenge you to read the reviews from families that have been helped and supported through their children's illness.

They operate on donations and fund raisers. Just this year, a man, whose child was a patient at the Children's Hospital, learned the house was struggling with washers and dryers that they were constantly repairing. That day he used his connections, and within four hours, new washers and dryers were donated. Another day, they received vacuums for each floor, all four, because there was only one for the whole house.

At Christmas, donations come in by the truck loads; anything from food to toys to clothes, whatever is needed. Every day, there is a different dinner group that brings in supplies and cooks for up to thirty-seven families. At night there are baking groups that come in to make desserts. Every Sunday morning, different groups come in to make hot breakfasts. Everything is donated.

This year a group came in and decorated all the floors with trees and holiday lace. Hundreds of toys are there for the children in the hospital and their siblings at the house. All toiletries that are needed are also donated and free to the residents, who also get a welcome basket as soon as they arrive.

This just hits the beginning but leads into what I want to tell you.

We see heartache and healing. Some of the families are there overnight, some are return families, some are long term. We had one family that stayed for over 6 years because their child was in cancer therapy. Families come in from hundreds of miles away and stay for just ten dollars a night; everything I spoke about is included in that amount.

We make friends with everyone and most of the time all turns out okay, but there are the times that it does not. I made friends with a woman whose child was there for a stomach problem. Her husband was home with her three other kids. She had been there for a week as the doctors tried different treatments for her baby. With Christmas coming up, the doctors work overtime to get the families home for Christmas. Those that have homes left.

As I said, people come from miles away and the stay is never predictable. Some lose their homes because they are with their sick children instead of working and making payments. Banks are not forgiving...neither are employers. Sometimes when the families leave, they move in with relatives because there is a forclosure or their automobile has been repossessed. Bet you did not know that, did you?

Back to my story.

Helen (not her real name) had spent every day with her baby and came back to the house to sleep. She always spoke to me and told me the progress, or lack of progress, the doctors were making with her baby. She was so optimistic as they operated over and over on her little one. She told me each procedure that was done and the outcome. The latest procedure was a life saving measure to give them more time.

She came downstairs yesterday morning, held my eyes with hers, and said, "I'm going to sign donor papers to give another baby a chance at living."

I did not comprehend at first until she said, "I was so sad to think of my baby in heaven all alone, then I remembered my mother is there and she is holding her arms out ready to hold her grandson."

I held her as she cried, trying so hard to hold back my own. Life support was to be removed and her thought was for other parents that were losing their own children because they needed transplants.

We give in to the allure of buying our children everything they want to make up for either not being with them, or giving them something to do, or just because we can. I am asking you this year, to take back control of your Christmas. Don't make the stores rich because 'Get your child this and have their love' makes more sense than what Christmas is really all about.

Helen gave all she had, the ultimate gift of giving. As her thoughts of families like her trapped her mind as her child lay dying, waiting for release to join her grandmother for a forever hug.

Book of the Month contest entry


Lillia thank you for permission to use this perfect picture.

Please check out Ronald McDonald house and all they do. I am not asking because of this story, I am asking because I know you care. Just take one present you were going to get for someone, and give a donation instead to a good cause somewhere. We make challenges to each other here, well I make a challenge to anyone who is brave enough to do with their children's wrath of not getting all they asked for, and give.
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