Saturday, July 30, 2016 @ 9am
Bug in a Jar
Don’t be mistaken, although Bug in a Jar looks like it is for very young kids, it is very much for adults too. I deliberately chose to make the book child like because it is our inner child who is reading it. When your life has been turned upside down you don’t need a message to be overly complex you need it to be simple.
This is a difficult topic and I believe we all become kids again when we hear the news that someone we love is dying. You want to yell “no!” or “this is not fair!” (and it isn’t). We are adults who suddenly don’t have the answers. We become kids again desperately looking for answers as to how this can be and what we can do.
I want to remind people that we are not helpless, there is still a lot we can do. We have a choice to sit back and play victim (‘this isn’t fair!’) or we can take an active part in making the best of the time we have together.
My Dad was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer on Thanksgiving and we were told he would not live until Christmas. When he told me, we both cried. Well, he was alive for Christmas, the New Year and his 80th Birthday! We were super lucky: we had 105 days to love him. We threw a B-Strong party (B for Bramhall) to celebrate him. It gave him strength to know all his friends were behind him as he faced the unknown that was ahead. At the party we had cards on which we asked everyone to share their memories, funny stories and well wishes. Everyone who came brought food and we asked for humorous quotes to be written down on poster board. This made my Dad laugh. The party was a celebration of life and when you allow everyone to help, it makes everyone feel good. You can feel pretty helpless at times not knowing what you can do. So it is nice to include people and let them help out. It meant a lot to have support during this very difficult time. So although getting the news was devastating, I feel lucky because we got to really show my Dad how much he was loved and appreciated. For his 80th birthday I wrote 80 reasons why I loved him and got to share it with him. There was so much I got to share because we knew he was dying, and for this I am grateful. Remember, as horrible as it is to know, it can also be a gift. The time is now, share your love!
The Bramhall Family Scholarship Fund was established in 2014 in memory of my Dad which helps a Bowdoin or Colby graduate go to medical school through the Tufts University School of Medicine Maine Medical Center Program. (Yes that is a mouthful!) My Dad went to Bowdoin, my Mom went to Colby. The scholarship also pays tribute to his father (my grandfather, who was also a Colby grad) who retired head of the OBGYN department at Maine Medical Center.
After my Dad retired he started painting scenes of the Maine coast in pastels. Today I am reproducing his work in a card line which can be found in coastal shops throughout New England. The proceeds go to the scholarship foundation. FMI: https://www.festivefish.net/shop/cards/peter-t-bramhall-art-cards/