Yesterday along with friends, I celebrated my wife Ruthie’s birthday. But not far removed from the celebration, were thoughts of Todd Heap and his daughter Holly. Holly shares a birthday with Ruthie, and she would have turned four yesterday, if not for a tragic accident that challenges anyone’s faith.
The Heap Family has suffered. As a father, I can’t even begin to understand the pain that is Todd’s new and unfortunate reality. I can only imagine how surreal each morning is for him, awakening to a new day, and then the cold reminder of Holly’s loss that undoubtedly bites like the most bitter winter winds.
The depths of despair cannot be understood until you stand in the shoes of Todd Heap.
But the Ravens Ring of Honor inductee is an uncommon man, grounded by strong religious convictions, strengthened by an unwavering faith. Instead of being cut at the knees by this blindsided horror, the Heaps chose to keep Holly’s memory alive – to help give her loss a purpose. One way was to wear pink in honor of the precious little girl.
So, as we gathered last night to celebrate Ruthie, we all wore pink and we toasted the Heaps and remembered beautiful Holly, while capturing our moments with pictures, accompanied by #HugsFromHollyDay.
We weren’t alone.
“HollyDay” was everywhere as evidenced by social media. The worldwide effort must have delivered solace to the Heap Family, at least temporarily. We can only hope.
The pink clothing and hashtags are nice. But the most meaningful part of the request from the Heaps to celebrate HollyDay, was rooted in kindness. Share hugs. Spread love. Smile more. Compliment somebody. Give.
These are the things that resonate. These are things we are all capable of, yet they are things that get lost in the hustle and bustle of everyday living; when fighting rush hour traffic; while waiting in line for a coffee as the new barista struggles; when your Wi-Fi connection fails.
Tragedies like that of Holly Heap have a way of bringing us together. It’s staying together that challenges us as a community. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
HollyDay has come and gone, yet the message survives. The message is worthy.
Take a moment to watch this video from ESPN, featuring my favorite personality at the Worldwide Leader, Scott Van Pelt. And by all means, pay attention to the reach of #HugsFromHollyDay.
This doesn’t have to be a one-time thing.
From this day forward, my wife’s birthday will remind me of Holly Heap and remind me of the human compassion that lives and breathes in this world of ours, but unfortunately, hides under the radar far too often.
Together we can change that!
I hope you have an awesome day, and thanks for listening.