In the literal sense the drive from Galloway to Westerville only takes about 40 - 45 minutes.
Figuratively, however it took a bit longer.
Finally though, in early October 2011 my wife and I found ourselves en route carrying an MJB Donation.
A gift for a boy named Abram who simply needed a way to get out and play with his sisters, a way for Mom and Dad to get him outside. Abram’s “Get out and play" deck as we call it now.
We had heard about Abram a few months before. His family was having a fundraiser to build the deck, they had a goal number in mind, but came the query - Could The MJB Foundation help?
Of course we would - folks who were industrious enough to hold their own fundraiser? Heck, we were right on board. We would help with the difference. They would raise what they raised, and The MJB Foundation would make up the difference.
So we carried that check with us as we traveled to Westerville.
But here’s the catch - This was the first MJB Gift of Joy we were delivering personally. No agency involved. No intermediary. Just us... and honestly - we were a little nervous.
We were greeted at the door by some lovely young ladies and welcomed in to meet Abram and his family
What followed quite frankly was life changing, and as far as that goes - MJB changing too.
When you lose a child, as we did with Meghan Joy, the feelings, the emotion, the carousel, the roller coaster are all things you do alone. Oh, you have your spouse, and you are together. If you’re lucky, like we were, you have that support, that someone to lean on.
But nobody can understand what it is truly like. Not your friends, not your family, nobody who hasn’t gone through that experience themselves can truly understand what it’s like.
But, Emma and Andy, Abram’s parents, had done just that. Abram’s twin brother Heath passed away when he was 3 weeks and two days old.
Emma and Andy knew exactly who we were, and they made us feel so welcome. We spent about an hour and a half chatting, sharing stories, talking about Heath and Abram, and Meghan and Kailey and Delaney and Livvy, Ella, Mollie and Poppy and on and on, and we gave them the check and went on our way.
Afterwards, we visited the local mall to run some errands.
As we shopped we talked about our visit and marveled at the ease with which Emma carried on a conversation, cared for Abram, and still managed to keep track of what the girls were all doing.
We could not imagine keeping up with that pace. We could not imagine the energy that must take.
We discussed the similarities and differences we shared, and we decided that we were incredibly happy we were able to help, and more importantly that we had made that donation personally.
We kept in contact with Emma and Andy and their clan, with the goings on with Abram and his deck. We invited them to Bowl for Joy and Emma came with the kids and had a terrific time.
Afterward, Emma contacted me with some ideas for other ways The MJB Foundation could help folks, and other ways that she could be involved.
We had no idea...