God, it is said, works in mysterious ways. People, less so: When a child dies, we grieve deeply. We feel pain for the parents. We want to do something.
Kate's son, Gavin, has passed. It happened shockingly quickly; last week, he was a five-year-old boy with special powers who had just started dancing. On Wednesday he stopped breathing and went into cardiac arrest. On Friday Kate and her husband, Ed, made the decision to donate his organs. Last night, he was officially pronounced dead.
All weekend, I felt like I was moving in slow-mo. Kate is a vital part of my Sisterhood of Special Needs Parents. Gavin was a kid with special needs who kicked major butt. This is a child who'd gotten so much love, therapy, attention, everything. His mom is one of the very wonderful people of this world. Why, why, WHY?
Kate has written about being comforted by the many thoughts and prayers streaming her way. Hearing about the impact Gavin has had also helps, she's said: "Gavin healed people. He helped people. We loved to call him our little 'Buddha Baby' for how he changed people with his quiet presence. Sharing parts of him is like spreading good karma and knowing that he can continue to help and heal people after his death is so very comforting to us."
And in another post she wrote: "People have been inspired by him over the years—and continue to be inspired by him now—and I know in my heart that, even in his death, that won't change."
This boy Gavin-ized people.
I often saw Max in Gavin, especially in the determination he had to push past his challenges and the way he charmed others. When Gavin helped people better understand children with special needs, it lifted me. When Kate did alternative treatments for him, it made me think harder about what I could be doing for Max. I swear, every single time I looked at that child's smile I thought he had found the meaning of life, so content did he seem. In recent days, what I've witnessed has reignited spirituality I have not felt in a long time.
Kate being Kate, on Facebook yesterday—her 43rd birthday—she asked people to participate in a project of doing something to help someone, to share Gavin's story and to ask that person to pay it forward. She and Ed will soon be announcing where donations can be made in Gavin's honor.
Gavin will live on—not just by giving life with organ donation, but because of the good he'll continue to bring to the world and the indelible impact he's had on our spirits and souls.
If you'd like, share a message here about how Gavin touched or inspired you. I will print them and others from Facebook, collect them in some meaningful way and bring them to Kate.
Rest in peace, Superhero Gavin. Much strength and love to you, Kate and Ed.