After much thought and discussion about how to commemorate Hudson’s birthday on December 1, Ed and I came to the conclusion that for us, giving of ourselves in some way or another is the very best way to honor our sweet girl. We figure that it is also the surest path to more healing. And most importantly, it helps us live Hudson’s message of One Good Thing: we can’t have her here with us, but One Good Thing that we can make of such a terrible loss is to keep her memory and her life alive in the world that she adored.
Because we can’t give her any gifts this year, we collected several of Hudson’s favorite books and several Elmo dolls, and on Wednesday, we will drop them off at Dr. Bear’s Closet at Children’s Hospital where Hudson died. Dr. Bear’s Closet is where the hospital collects donated toys and games for children all over the hospital who are undergoing difficult treatments; it also stocks the hospital’s playrooms. Hopefully these gifts will put a look on the faces of many children not unlike the one you see below:
|Hudson opening her beloved Elmo|
Because Hudson loved animals so much, and in particular, her beloved Bess, we are also donating a collection of dog treats and toys in Hudson’s name to the Washington Humane Society on Wednesday. Hopefully some more dogs will be able to feel Hudson’s love in a different and special way.
And finally, because Hudson loved the outdoors, and especially the National Arboretum, where we took her for many a day of adventures in all seasons, we will visit the Arboretum on Wednesday. We plan to sprinkle a small portion of Hudson’s ashes there—while we struggled somewhat to decide whether to leave any of Hudson’s ashes here, we finally decided that DC is the place where we shared our lives with her, and we would like to have a place here to visit with her whenever we come back. And of all the places in DC that we could think of to do this, the Arboretum is the most beautiful, the most peaceful, the most serene, and it is the place where we shared some of our most special memories with her. Most recently, about a month before she died, we took a long hike through the Azalea Collection and took some beautiful pictures of her both there and in the central meadow (the picture above of Hudson hugging Bess was also taken at the Arboretum, last winter in the Asian Collection). The Arboretum is so special to us that we have not been able to go back there since Hudson died—her birthday will be our first visit there without her. It seems only fitting that we leave a small part of her (and therefore of ourselves) there, as we remember and honor her very special life.
There is some talk of drastically reducing the Azalea Collection, so Ed and I will also be making a donation to the Arboretum in Hudson’s name. (And if you’d like to make a donation to the Arboretum, I’ve posted a link to the right to do so).
In the spirit of One Good Thing, we’d like to invite everyone to help us honor Hudson’s life by doing One Good Thing sometime this week. This can be any act of kindness you can think of, for a child or other person, a friend or a stranger, an animal, the outdoors, whatever comes to mind. And if you are so inclined, please feel free to come back here and share your One Good Thing for Hudson’s Birthday by posting it as a comment to this post. And please feel free to pass this on to others who might want to participate.
(And many, many thanks to the anonymous reader who helped us crystallize this idea in our own heads—we’d been thinking in this direction, but that comment really helped us put it together. Another grieving family did the same to honor their sweet boy’s birthday, and while blatant imitation feels a little strange, I figure the world can always use some more kindness).
We can’t stop it from coming. We can’t bring Hudson back. But in the spirit of the lesson she taught us, we can continue to help her light shine in the world by finding the One Good Thing, and this week, that means doing One Good Thing.