“Why is my daddy always mad at me?”, my Godson, Tommie asked. I felt myself suspended in time, my mind racing to put all the pieces in perspective to answer his question as honest and straightforwardly as it had been asked. How do you tell a six-year-old that he is going to die? How much does he know? Was the leukemia explained? Where do I begin? What do I say? All I knew was that he was in great pain and my heart was shrinking into utter despair. I decided to follow Tommie’s lead. I started by reassuring him that his daddy was not mad at him. That Tommie had done nothing wrong. His dad’s anger was at everything and everyone. He was mad because he could fix just about anything, but he couldn’t fix the one thing that meant the most to him…and that was his precious son. He was a strong, powerful and a gentle man and the fact he was going to lose the very essence of his life, brought him to his knees helpless, beaten. He was lashing out because his pain was so bottomless and cutting. Tommy seemed to understand. I had bent down to answer his question so our eyes would meet. His unwavering stare burrowed into my mind, probing, searching to find truth. He softly said: “When I die, will you take care of my daddy for me?”
I decided to make Tommie a book and I entitled it: “Color Me Well!”. It had activities and educational information on his disease, how it affected his immune system, etc. All the characters lived in Hope Beardom ruled by King Edward Bear and Sir John the Good Knight. It also included some things that would help him understand and cope with procedures and others around him. As an after thought, I added a large envelope with the title of”Feelings!” written on the outside and told Tommie to put his deepest thoughts and feelings into it. He could share those feelings or keep them a secret. It would be his choice. He glowed at the prospect of having an option. The probability allowed him a source of power. He asked me if I would write books for other kids, too. Two years later, on his sister’s birthday, Tommie died. I still have the original book. To this day, I have not opened the enclosed envelope with the word “My” boldly printed by his hand over the original word “Feelings!”
The end product and reward for all his suffering and sacrifices made to overcome his fears is the foundation for CARR’s innovative concepts and whimsical creations regarding health and behavioral issues. It is the primary desire of wanting to provide educational materials that promote empowering children to make smart choices for a healthier lifestyle. It is also an avenue that provides an opportunity for kids to take ownership through having fun in obtaining knowledge. On a very personal note, it is an avenue to which to pass on a legacy for a tough little guy with an unconquerable spirit.
Please help us to help children to help themselves. Please help us broaden their horizons. Please help in keeping Tommie’s legacy alive. Thank you.
If you would like to help with Tommie’s by donating $5, you may do so at the link below. Please note this link will take you to our non-profit affiliate.
For more information on how you can help, feel free to contact us directly.