This morning as Dan explained to me what was happening on his blog, I saw our very first donation come through with a name I didn’t know and a person I will never meet. She had sent us $20. I didn’t know how to process that. I literally couldn’t understand it. Someone who doesn’t know me, or my children, or my Tobi, wants to help us? If asked beforehand how something like this would have affected me, I never would have been able to give an answer that was accurate. In that moment, it was so overwhelming, I just started sobbing. I can’t relate the feeling of gratitude to anything else that has happened in my life. It’s as if I had been holding a hundred pound sack above my head for so long that I didn’t even know I was doing it anymore, and someone suddenly told me, “you can set that down, you know. You can set that down and breathe and let your heart feel happiness and hope and peace again.”
Even that doesn’t explain it. Just know that it was so overwhelming as I sat that hundred pound sack down and just cried.
Six of my children looked at me like I was crazy. One of them just wondered why I had stopped feeding him oatmeal and bananas, and voiced his dismay.
And it just kept coming.
I really don’t think I knew the weight that had been resting on me as a father and provider to my family until it suddenly lifted off. To fear almost every moment of every day that my kids will be taken because we will officially and finally run out of money. Or because we will run out of time. Or because we will run out of whatever will we have left to give. And worst of all, the fear that one day the stress of it all will simply be too much for my sweetheart and her MS. That fear, constantly looming in the back of my mind, had taken me to a heavy and hard place. And I had lost most hope, if not all of it. The fight had become so big that I didn’t think I could keep swinging much longer.
Then the blog post. And then donations that followed. And then the tears…
Tobi, who I was more or less forcing to relax and sleep in for once, thought someone had hacked her email, as her phone wouldn’t stop going off this morning. She came out of our room to find me an emotional wreck, probably assuming I had sent any money we had to the Nigerian princes that were hacking said email. She read the blog post, she lost it as I had. More donations came in. All day long they kept coming in. We both cried.
It’s 11:45 PM. I’m still crying.
I hope that this has conveyed to you properly just what you have done for our family. I have felt for so long that, try as we might, we were never winning. Today, I feel like we’ve won, even though we have a long battle left to fight. It is thanks to you. If you take anything away from what I have been trying to say, please take away that YOU are responsible for restoring my belief that people are inherently good. YOU are responsible for letting me set down that hundred pound burden. The overwhelming feeling of love that has come over me all day today has been because of YOU. You have inspired both of us to be the kind of people that you already are. I give you my promise, we will pay this forward.
The best part about today for me, was seeing so many other people recognize Tobi for the hero that she is. I cannot wait to read the letter that she finally writes for you. From the bottom of our changed forever hearts, in the most sincere way possible, thank you.
And yeah, I’m still crying.
I love this family. So much. I love this man. So much. I love all of you so much for what you’ve done for them. If you’d still like to donate, you can do so on yesterday’s blog post.
Dan Pearce, Single Dad Laughing