The blog takes an unusual turn this week and is not as happy as previous entries. However it is so important that this get's said and hopefully the one person it is aimed at might see it.
At Christmas we do a gift wrapping marathon for two weeks straight in our local Toys R us Store. "Are you crazy? Two weeks of wrapping presents just before Christmas?" Hmm well yes we might be a little bit mad, but by this point in the year we have done our Christmas Party and most activities with our Muffin's have finished for the year so we are in the Christmas spirit and need something to keep us busy and fulled by sugar and the Christmas spirit we embark on coin collecting and wrapping presents for the public. The atmosphere down there is lovely, that staff are really welcoming, we have tubs of chocolate which we give out and there's Christmas music playing, all be it the same album on repeat everyday for two weeks. Yeah OK, that bit does drive you loopy, along with the Toys R us Christmas jingle the plays periodically through out the day. Now I will just pause here in case your thinking "Oh my I don't want to read, watch or think about Christmas, it's only July." I might just add that the rest of this blog is not going to be about Christmas, I promise.
We meet a lot of lovely people whilst we sit there year after year and meet people who always come back to get their presents wrapped. We have lots of time to chat with the public and we get to spread the word about what Muffin's does and every year without fail we will find a family who are in need of our support which always makes us happy as it's one more family who will now get the support they need to. Last year I was sat there with my coin bucket having had a fun day wrapping a few presents with a couple of other volunteers that had been down to help us. A person approached me about Muffin's asking lots of questions and I sat telling them about the work we did and what we hoped to achieve. They were rather interested in our Surprise Dreams where we help our Muffin's who are terminally ill or life limited have a day where they can do whatever they want just for the day. I sat explaining all of the memories we had helped create over the years and they then asked "how many children have you lost?" there was nothing strange about this question for we are asked it all the time and to be honest I now don't think anything of it when people ask. I replied "sadly we have lost 7 children." There response to this statement rather cheerfully with a great big simile on their face was "oh only 7? Seem's a bit much for just 7 children" This reply even seven months on I fail to comprehend. In that moment I was left utterly speechless and froze thinking desperately of something to say to back. But what could you say?!
Did this person have any idea what they had just said? Or realise how they had said it? Probably not. Had they ever worked with a family who just wanted to make a few more memories before their child passed away? Things as simple as a photo shoot to have a few more precious snaps of them as a complete family. Had they perhaps organised events for a child or young person which is there final one wish of something they want to do and memories they want to create? Most of the time nothing major things that were not over the top and rather simple to do like, pottery, afternoon tea, meeting their favourite cartoon character, Has this person ever seen a child or young person battle with everything they had and put up a fight unlike anything you will ever witness? Each of our Muffin's have a spirit and strength that as staff we admire so much and get to wittiness each and every single day working with our families. It is this spirit that when we maybe going crazy with paperwork or stressed over some other trivial matter that pales in significance that makes us pull ourselves together and get on with the job. Had the person I still could not bring myself to reply to sat with a family consumed by grief? Had they ever been asked by a grieving parent 'why my child?' whilst you sit there unable to answer them, knowing there is nothing you could ever say or do that was going to make this situation better. Was it just a throw away comment that nothing was meant by? Were they just ignorant? Perhaps. I finally took a deep breath and thought 'my reply to this is simple.' "7 is to 7 to many for us and we will do our job until there are no more children to be helped.' They looked a little shocked when I replied quite sharply to them having been this friendly, sweet nature person a few minutes ago.
You see to the person I was talking to they could not see the benefit of Muffin's and why families were being helped because they could not put themselves in their shoes. They were unable to see past their own little bubble where nine times out of ten life ticks along with a few hiccups but overall life works out reasonably well not a world where everything gets turned upside down because you are told your child has a disability or illness or that they will pass away. I hope they went away from Toys R us that day feeling a little more informed and thankful for what they did have. I left the store that day bewildered by the conversation I had been apart of and hoped beyond hope that the message of what Muffin's does and continues to do got through to them.
To the person that said 'only 7' I hope you are never in the position of any of our families, I hope your child never suffers illness or disability, I hope you never have to sleep in a hospital bed looking after your sick child, listening to the machines that are keeping them alive beep through out the night, I hope you never have to hand your child to a doctor in the hope they can save their life, I hope you never face the heartbreak of losing a child.