A Grieving Community and the Healing Power Of Giving Back

(Update: If it is raining Saturday morning in NYC, the rain date will be Sunday, January 25th at 8:30 AM.)

Over the holidays, I spent time purely relaxing with my family... something I cherish, live and long for. I shut off to work, almost completely, for the first time in 7 years. With the craziness of life, we tend to become all too consumed with going, going, going, and often find ourselves with little time to reflect and spend on more important things like family, friends, community and taking care of oneself. Life circumstances reminded me of this and so I felt it was critical to address.

Having a cleared schedule allowed for time with my family and also my need for quiet reflection.

On December 17th, I learned of the passing of a remarkable person in our lives. Kerri, one of the nurse practitioners from Tribeca Pediatrics, lost her 10 year plus battle with cancer. Kerri was one of the first people to hold my son after he was born. With her cheery disposition and beautiful smile, her comfort always put us at ease. For all the years we had known her, she was silently fighting the good fight to stay alive. I never even knew she was ill. It was only brought to my attention, about two years ago, in a passing conversation with someone at the practice. I was stunned.

So many times we had visited the office, in a panic, over a mild illness, one of my children had been experiencing. And there she was, fighting for her life and yet she never made us once feel like our child's illness was anything less than important. Kerri had her ups and downs, having remedied her cancer several times. When it did flare up, she would spend lunch hours taking radiation, only to return to work. She was a true warrior and a great inspiration. She was carrying the weight of the world on her shoulders, as a caring nurse and single mother of 2.

Learning of this very sad news, really had an impact on me. I was deeply moved. I too, am a mother of two. I am close to the age Kerri was and have a child nearly the same age as her youngest. My heart broke for her children. I pondered how I could help.

Although my husband and I have opted not to raise our children with any particular religious background, it is extremely important to us that our children learn good morals and values and we spend a fair amount of time incorporating these conversations into our daily lives... the importance of being kind and helping others. We contribute to causes as often as we can. However, we feel it is vital that our children not only witness giving, but actively participate in it.
Up until now, they have really been too young to understand the impact of doing so, but my first born child has reached an age where I feel he has a greater understanding of the world and is ready to step up to the occasion.

I wish it were not under these circumstances, but it is my job as a mother to teach him how to navigate through life as a kind soul and an opportunity has presented itself. And so we will work together to do just that.

Kerri's boys need our help. As a community we must come together to provide our emotional and financial support and continue to nourish their lives, as their mother so amazingly did.

On January 25th, we will honor Kerri in a celebration of life/fundraising event for her boys.

The event will take place at The Rink at Brookfield Place in lower Manhattan, which offers a beautiful back drop for ice skating. This outdoor space will allow us to take in some fresh air, while we skate and remember Kerri within a serene and tranquil space. A neighborhood destination, where a community can come together to grieve and celebrate the life of a truly kind and loving individual.

The skating session will take place from 8:30 am- 9:30 am. The rink is generously donating all proceeds of this session to Kerri's boys. They have also agreed to give $3 of every skate session throughout the day, for individuals who can't make the early skate time, but would still like to skate to honor Kerri. We are extremely grateful for their contributions.

Children in the community have been invited to participate in various ways. This will serve as a way for them to both grieve and provide them an opportunity to practice the notion of giving back to those in need.

We also will be hosting a community bake sale, where volunteers will be baking goods for the cause. Additionally, Black Seed Bagels has stepped up to donate bagels and coffee.

All proceeds from the bake sale will also be donated.

We are thankful to all those who have helped to pull this event together.

So let this be a calling and reminder to all, that no gesture is too little. You can help people and communities who are suffering, in a variety of ways. Monetary contributions are great, but time is just as precious.

Let's move forward in 2015 to be a more peaceful society, to pause and reflect and take the time to give back.

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