Mack’s Teepee Dedication Day 1

The only thing missing this morning was Mack. His great friends, teammates, and school mates, were there. His favorite pancakes: chocolate chip and banana. The morning was crisp and bright. And, “Mack’s Teepee”  was dedicated; a permanent addition to the playground at Park Forest Elementary school that was funded by thousands of boxtops and donations from around the school district.

We have been the recipients of love on Mack’s behalf, and we are so grateful.

Jenny Kelly, a local artist, presented us with a beautiful drawing of Mack, and these words, that she allowed me to share:

When someone dies, often I’m overwhelmed with a combination of helplessness and a need to do something, anything, to help.

I didn’t know Mack when he passed away, but it still hurt to know a beloved child was lost so quickly. It struck that place inside me that fears for my own kids, that tries to forget that such losses are possible.

I wanted to extend help to the Bradys, but I didn’t want to intrude, either, into a time where most families gather to bear the sorrow privately.

And I suspected that, selfishly, what I really wanted was not to help, but to ask them how they survived even a minute without their precious boy.

How do you walk through that day, and the next? How do you move forward when the light of your heart can go out?

I drew this for you, so you could see how Mack’s life is so far reaching that people you never knew gain hope.

I wanted them to teach me how to live with grief, as if knowing their particular courage could somehow save me from future pain.

I never got the courage to ask, but unknowingly, they’ve already answered because, thankfully, they didn’t bear all their grief in private.

They’ve generously opened their lives to all of us over these last ten months. They’ve graciously involved our whole community, supporting soccer nights, creating a goalkeeper scholarship, and specifically, supporting the fundraising and construction of Mack’s TeePee. They reached out through a website for Mack, through honest blog essays and news articles; they let us walk with them in their new journey and they keep doing so.

They reached out with love and accepted our love, and built for others what Mack would have enjoyed. But also they reminded us that alongside the pain of losing a son, you get to keep forever the joy of once having him.

I drew this for you, so you could see how Mack’s life is so far reaching that people you never knew gain hopeThank you for sharing Mack with us.

A few of the many who made Mack's Teepee possible.

A few of the many who made Mack’s Teepee possible.

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