My Story of Paying It Forward

Last week, I said goodbye to my uncle who lost his battle with cancer. It hit me much harder than I expected, I think primarily because I helped take care of him the past few months. As I struggled for several days with my grief, I found myself overwhelmed at the thought of how magnified those feelings must be for the people of Newtown. How does one move forward after such an incredible loss?

JackieLynn Wellfonder

JackieLynn Wellfonder is a contributor to                   The Brenner Brief.
Twitter: @princy_lyn

I have a few friends who lost dear loved ones recently, so the holidays are a bittersweet time for them. As much as you try to focus on the true “reason for the season,” your thoughts tend to wander and focus on those whom you are missing. I’m sure this is a natural part of the process, but still quite difficult.

At one point, I was having a conversation with my mother who broke out in tears when she realized she had already purchased presents for my uncle. I immediately suggested giving them to folks at our local hospice center, as they had been so gracious to us, or even to a local nursing home. I felt it was important to pay it forward. Although we may no longer have our loved one by our side, we could bless someone else who was in need.

I, for one, completely love the concept of “paying it forward.” Are you aware there is even a Pay It Forward Day? Catherine Ryan Hyde is the founder and developed the idea from her book with the same title. Hyde states on her website, “Pay It Forward Day is a brilliant initiative. It embodies the power of giving which is the cornerstone of my book. It is amazing the difference a simple idea can have in changing the world – one good deed at a time.”

As we cope with our losses and wrestle with our grief, I can think of no other more profound way to honor someone’s memory by doing something on their behalf. Speaking of good deeds, I have a friend on Facebook who lost her daughter after a very long battle with cancer this year as well. She gave Build-A-Bears to close family members and friends with a recorded message from her daughter. I could hardly wrap my mind around how incredibly thoughtful this was of her. She was the mother of this child, yet she was putting others before her own suffering and thought ahead enough to realize this gift would bless them beyond measure.

I have had a hard time getting back into the swing of things, and with the news of late being pretty somber and negative, that certainly doesn’t make it any easier. Above all else these past few days, I’ve clung to the very important concept of perspective. I have found myself saying several times, “it could always be worse.” I know that perspective will come with faith and with time. While I’m still in search of it, I just hope to encourage you to be thankful for what you have, consider others before yourself, and to live each day as if it were your last. Don’t wait til tomorrow to bless someone or to do something nice for them. Make everyday a day to pay it forward.

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