Wednesday, December 12, 2012

A Stocking for Donna

It is highly likely that my five children will be with me on Christmas morning. I imagine they will wake up a full hour before their normal wake up time, and they will be energized, excited, and exude happiness. Christmas is the one morning during the year where I do not have to beg, plead, and bargain for them to PLEASE get up. It happens every year. I usually stay awake after Santa leaves his gifts, and I make sure the stockings are filled and everything is displayed in a nice arrangement. It's silly, but I always make sure everything looks "even stevens" so no child feels less special than the other, not that I really think that they would assume that. But it matters for some reason, in my exhausted mind, on Christmas morning. Everything is arranged into a little area for each of them under the tree, and their stocking, personalized with their name, is filled with little toys, stickers, candy, etc. and set just at the right angle in front of their area. I assure you this year will be the same as the years before. The kids will come running from their room, searching for their stocking. The children who know the truth about Santa will play along for the younger ones. But they will look at me as they open their gifts, and hold my gaze, as if to say a silent thank you. It is very easy for me to feel so grateful, so thankful, and so damn lucky, on Christmas morning.

Other parents, especially on Christmas morning, don't find it as easy. As I read the beautifully written post by a woman who had lost her son Theo, to a brain tumor, I got a glimpse into just how difficult something like a stocking, which is generally a simple tradition in many households, can be after a child has passed away. In Theo's Christmas Stocking, Karla paints a devastating, but clear portrait of her grief. She realized, after decorating her home for the holidays, that come Christmas morning, Theo's stocking would be empty. She requested that her friends and family, to please commit to one random act of kindness and email it to her. She then filled Theo's stocking with the messages, and read them aloud on Christmas morning. In this way, Theo's stocking is filled with things that money can't buy, but the feeling of comfort and hope given to his family, will stay with them forever.

I learned about Theo and his mother's request, through my friend Shiela, a.k.a. Mary Tyler Mom
Sweet Donna
photo courtesy of 
 Anne L. Geissinger
 Storytelling Through Photos
on her Facebook page, and also saw her post it on Donna's Good Things. DGT was started in 2009 after Shiela's daughter Donna passed away, from the same savage beast that took Theo.
The mission of Donna's Good Things, is to spread the message that doing good things, in the name of a child, is the best way to honor their life. She continues to parent Donna by sharing Donna's story, raising awareness and money for researching Pediatric Cancers, and passing along good news, stories of hope, and also giving her followers ways to contribute to the cause in any way that they are inclined. Which is why she shared Theo's story, and his mother's request.

Both Sheila and Karla have gone through something I haven't. No matter what images flash through my mind, when I read their words, I truly do not know the heartache of losing a child. Both women are inspiring, choosing to spread hope, even when they have every reason to break down. Both women are raising awareness for pediatric cancer, which let's face it, my children, and your children, are not immune to.

This season, I will be committing to 2 random acts of kindness for both Theo and Donna. I invite you to do the same. They do not have to cost money, they can be something big or small. Whatever it is, do it in their names. The recipient of your kindness will benefit by having a piece of the true spirit of the season, and it is a beautiful thing to share with these families on Christmas morning.

For more info on how to send an email for Theo, you can read the original post here

And if you have been inspired by Donna, and want to fill her stocking with a random act of kindness, you can email me at
and I will personally mail them all to the Quirke family.

May your hearts be full this season and always.

xoxo Humble


  1. Awesome!!! I gathered my neighborhood kids to make Christmas cards for the Kiddos in the oncology unit of our local hospital, we are going to deliver them next week!! And I'm also volunteering for a fundraiser for a local girl who has Neuroblastoma, and had her hearing aids stolen while they were at the airport after they found out she had relapsed for the 3rd time!!! So sad!!! These families are very inspiring!! And I wish we had never even heard of them, I wish they didn't have these stories to tell!! :(

  2. First of all, Humble, you rock. Secondly, I went to Walmart this afternoon and paid off a few anonymous layaways. It was a small token of my love of MTF and Theo's family. As a brain tumor survivor and mom, it was the least I could do. Merry Christmas to you and your family, Humble and to all of your readers, as well

  3. First of all, Humble, you rock. So does MTM, and this is my act of kindness.
    Growing up, we had little money. My mom was raising my two sisters and I on her own making $3/hour. You heard me right. I never really liked holidays, but I loved being with my family.
    As I grew up, went to college, got married, and had kids of my own, the commercializing of Christmas took on a life of its own.
    In September of 2007, I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. It was a meningioma. I had it resected in December of that year. It was 11 days before Christmas.
    My grandmother was in a nursing facility and was going downhill quickly. She had told my mom the only thing she wanted that year was a diamond ring.
    Our financial situation wasn't the best due to my not being able to work, so my husband and I decided against presents for ourselves and bought my grandma her ring. It wasn't very big, but the look on her beautiful face was worth every penny. She passed away a few months later, and was buried with her ring.
    In the years since, we still for go our own presents and donate to local nursing homes.
    This year, we will do so in Donna and Theo's names, as well as the children who were lost on Friday.
    Keep doing what you do because you do good in this crazy world.