Dear Mr. Sparks,
I'm writing this letter late tonight because I'm up to my ears in tax forms. It's that time of year again when our charity's 990 is due, as well as our voluntary independent audit to quality for specific grants.
I'm a creative, artistic person so math is not my strong suite. Thankfully we have a great CPA as our Treasurer and we have the independent audit to make sure our i's are dotted and t's are crossed and that we are doing everything right and ethical for our charity. But to a non-math person who also happens to be dyslexic with number, this is the most stressful time of year for me. I'm not a joy to be around for these few weeks either (especially since it all coincides for Shane's birthday). But when it's done, when taxes are all crossed off the to-do list, it's a glorious day!
You would think that after CDH, after losing my son, after all life has thrown at me, that I wouldn't get wound up about things so easily. Maybe that's true for many parents who have walked this path. For me, a born control freak, I think I just try even harder to have life go smoothly. It never does. I never learn that lesson. For someone who works with birth defects, which by definition are imperfections... I sure am a perfectionist. God must bang His head over me often.
I need to make a visit to the hospital soon to see a local little guy who spent his first year at Duke. As soon as I finally stop sneezing and sniffling (recovering from the flu turned pneumonia in November and December), I am making a trek there to see him and his amazing mom. His story and Shane's story are so similar in so many ways but different than others. I was from another state, his mom is from another country. But I know how she feels walking into Duke every day and going up to the 5th floor, past the big aquarium, ringing the bell at the door to walk into the PICU to see him. I know the sounds she hears, I know the rhythm of the ventilator. I even know some of the same nurses after 22 years.
When I am banging my head against the desk and all the numbers seems to merge into a big ink spot on the computer monitor as I balance budgets and accounts, I think of Zuri and her son, Wajid. I think of the patience that she is forced to have after a year in the hospital and remember what real worry is.
Taxes are important and dotting our i's and crossing our t's is important. But these kids, these moms and dads and families... they are the focus. Sitting at a desk is nothing compared to sitting at a bedside.
Dawn M. Torrence Williamson
Charity President, CDH mom