This blog is mostly about a gift that I received almost 20 years ago that truly changed and probably saved my life. It was January 1993 and I was at a VERY low point in my life. I was suffering from what I thought (incorrectly) was post partum depression, my husband was being unfaithful and gambling our money and despite all of that, I had a beautiful 18 month old son. It is very difficult for me to put into words just how difficult things were for me at the time. I was truly only going through the motions of life, barely able to complete the tasks that I needed to for basic living. I somehow managed to go to work and take care of my son, but not much else. I was losing weight, my hair was falling out and everything in my life was a mess. No matter how hard I tried I couldn't seem to help myself or find anyone else that could help me.
Then a miracle occurred from a horrible, horrible tragedy. It was a snowy afternoon and I picked up our local newspaper off the floor and there was a picture on the front page that could have been my son. Same blue eyes, same blond hair and a smile that could melt the hardest of hearts. I was mesmerized by this photo and sat down to read the story that accompanied the picture. I learned that this sweet baby was two months older than my son (so he was almost two) and had died from child abuse. His name was Michael and had been abused repeatedly over time in almost everyway imaginable by his mother's boyfriend (he was arrested and is still serving his sentence). The newspaper reported that this case of abuse was one of the worst that Children's Hospital had ever seen. As I sat and read the story and looked at the picture, I cried and cried for this terrible tragedy and loss of innocent life and then something else happened....I looked at Michael's picture and realized what a gift LIFE is and how lucky my son was to have this gift and how I was not giving him the life that he deserved. We were given this precious gift and it was up to me to not squander it. As I had these thoughts and after I finished weeping, I got up, cleaned up and started putting my life together. My first move was to call a dr and later learned that I was not suffering from depression, I was severely anemic. I followed dr's orders and soon became healthier. I took control of the family finances and forced my husband into counseling (this worked for awhile, but later his abusive nature returned and we divorced) and most importantly, started giving my son the life he was supposed to have. We had a wonderful time playing, laughing and living life.
As my son grew and flourished, I often thought of baby Michael and the life that he was cheated out of. I learned that his grave was very near my mother's and began leaving flowers there too. Through my job, I also eventually met his father, who had remarried and had a daughter that I taught in school. As time went and my son got older, I shared bits and pieces of Michael's story with him. Even though he was young, he understood the gift that this sweet young child had given to me and also to him. When my son graduated from high school, three yrs ago, he took his extra graduation tassel, placed it in a plastic bag and we placed in on Michael's grave. My son held my hand and he spoke to Michael and told him that he would carry him in his heart as he graduated and wished that he could be there too. This was one of the most touching moments of my life. As I sat in the stands at my son's graduation, I looked up at the beautiful night sky and saw a shooting star. It was breath-taking! I looked down at my son and he smiled up at me.
Last night, after yet another high school graduation of friends and former students, my family and I went out for pizza. We were having the "if I won the lottery" or "if I were rich" discussion and having a good time. My son knew that if I had enough money, that I would start a scholarship in Michael's memory. Then we decided, let's do it! We don't need a lot of money...small scholarships help too. So, this morning, I put in a call to a family friend and school administrator and we have the ball rolling for Michael's memorial scholarship. I am so excited!
Michael's life was cut short by tragedy, but even though he was only 20 months old, he changed and saved lives. Now his memory will continue to help young people fulfill dreams that he never got to have. Bless you, dear Michael as I know you are one of the angels that watch over me. And bless all of you angels here on earth that do the same....you know who you are... :)
Thank you for reading this long post.....it was a story that I never thought I could tell, so thank you for bearing with me. Be blessed and enjoy your gift of life.