While I was binge listening to short biographies last week, I learned about a peculiar habit of Sarah Winchester (of Winchester gun fame). When she donated money to charity in her own name, it was typically a small amount of money – paltry sums considering her wealth. We’re talking like $10 and $100 donations from someone that had millions. But she was secretly super generous – she donated millions and millions anonymously to charities she loved. Never in her own name.
I don’t donate millions of anything. I just don’t have millions. Except pet hairs around my house. But I do over-tip, and I do give money to corner panhandlers. I buy extra gifts and send things on the side to people I know need it. I had to come clean a couple of weeks ago to Jay and tell him that I have been sending bi-weekly shipments of goods to someone that really needs it for the past several months and there is no end in sight… so, you know, just an FYI about where our money is going. He really didn’t have a say in the matter.
You’d think that one of the side effects of losing a child is spending less money. No more clothes or shoes or books. No tuition payments. No car insurance or phone bills. But really, I’ve found that is not the case for anyone that I know that’s lost a child.
Just like the love that never dies, that stream of money doesn’t quit. Except now instead of fretting about our budgets and how we’re going to keep all the kids in good financial order, we start giving it away.
I mean, I know lots of sad parents that do it for our children, but I don’t know of anyone that makes a “thing” out of it. We just become relentless, secret givers. Dollars to you and books to you and shoes to you and all these things just happen.
And time – we give so much of our time away. Time that we wouldn’t have had before that suddenly becomes so… available. We give it to projects and people and occupation for our hearts.
I’ve turned into a giver and I’m probably not doing it for selfless reasons. I think it’s just a habit I acquired over the 18.83 years I took care of my child. Just like I don’t stop loving her, I don’t stop spending on her either. It’s just redirected.
Redirection seems to be a theme both emotionally and financially.
Sara Winchester was emotionally devastated when she lost her baby and then her husband. She didn’t know what to do with herself and became tragically restless and just meandered through life without real direction.
I’m pretty sure that when she donated anonymously, she didn’t per her name on it because it wasn’t her money. She donated $100 for herself. The millions she donated was the money that belong to someone else.
The same with me, this money and stuff I give away is supposed to go to someone else. So, I make sure it goes to someone else. It’s what I do for them (my child and my husband) quietly and in my heart.
I don’t tell you this to be all “look at me! I’m a generous giver” – I share this because it’s a side-effect-quirk of loss. It’s just something that happens. And I’m here to share the weird.
0 stars. Do not recommend.
Thanks for this, I thought it was just me. It makes so much more sense now. Sometimes it feels like a whisper from Bryce to care for or send love to his friends.
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right?… it’s almost a compelling push that can’t be ignored.
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Thank you 🙂
I remember a family member telling me about her Mother loosing a baby and how she kept a scrapbook of famous person that was born the same month and year that her baby would have been born. For her it kept it all real. She too sponsored various activities and the like and dedicated them to that child.
a child by proxy…