Thanks to finally decking the halls with festive faux greenery and other assorted decorations and lights, it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas around here. Thanks to my friend’s selflessness and grace, it is finally beginning to feel a lot like Christmas around here, which is what really matters. Dina never ceases to amaze me with her strength, compassion, and love for her family and friends, and I was beyond amazed and brought to tears by what she did today.
In the wee hours of Halloween morning, Dina’s 20-year-old son, Tyler, died in a house fire. In an instant, everything changed forever, but even in the face of this tragedy and coping with unimaginable grief, Dina’s beautiful and generous spirit have remained intact. The day after Tyler died, Dina called me on the way to the funeral home to make final arrangements for her son, and my heart ached as I listened to Dina’s cries and voice choked with intense pain. Then, my heart was humbled when Dina told me that she wanted to set up a memorial fund in Tyler’s name at the day shelter for homeless men where I work. Tyler and Dina had volunteered at the day shelter when he was in high school, and now, in death, Tyler would continue to be a presence among our guests.
With the arrival of the holidays on the heels of Tyler’s death, Dina is dealing with things that I won’t even pretend to understand, which is why her post on Facebook today left me in awe. It was such a poignant example of someone who, in the midst of her own grief and sorrow, continues to search for ways to help others, and I am honored that she chose our guests at the day shelter to be the recipients of her kindness. Here is Dina’s lovely post (edited for privacy):
If anyone is looking for a place to help this Christmas, we have set up a memorial fund in Tyler’s name at the day shelter. They are using this money to buy Christmas presents for the men to give them on Christmas. It will be coats, gloves, hats etc. if you can’t give money please consider donating a jacket or your time to serve coffee or wrap these presents. Tyler loved this place specifically for the work they do with veterans. I will never forget the day Tyler met a man who was serving his country overseas. He came home to find his wife had moved him out and moved another man in. Tyler couldn’t believe this man (and others) were homeless through no fault of their own. Last year 2,000 men visited the center 65,000 times. They help these men by providing shelter, social services, supportive housing, and serving as a hub with partner agencies The day shelter is where homeless men “seek help, find hope, and move forward.” Please consider helping someone less fortunate than you and if you have any questions just message me.
Dina is my hero for so many reasons, and I can only hope to follow her lead in being compassionate and generous, regardless of the season or how I am feeling. Thank you to Dina and to Tyler!
Just one thing each day . . .