I asked some friends and family if they would be interested in writing a guest post about a cause or charity that was important to them. My goal was to bring awareness to different causes and show people how easy it can be to get involved. My friend Leah contacted me about the wedding and expressed her support for the idea. I thought she would be a perfect fit for the kind of causes I was looking to bring awareness to and I am grateful that she agreed to share her story. The following was written by her:
When Alicia asked me to be a guest blogger on their Charity Wedding blog, I was incredibly touched and honored. It is a beautiful concept and I wish her and Kyle all the success with it. We’ve known each other since freshman year at the University of Arizona but had sadly lost touch, but thanks to Facebook and her blog, we are back in touch.
This is not easy to write about but I hope in doing so, I will help save a life.
My parents died on October 15th, 2007. There, now that I’ve said that, I can get through the rest of this. I got the call around 1 a.m. They were found in their bedroom in their house in Tunis, Tunisia. After a couple of days of thorough investigation in and around their home, the cause of death was determined to be carbon monoxide poisoning. It was the water heater. I cannot begin to describe what it was like coming face-to-face with this device. I wanted to tear it from the wall and smash it to tiny pieces. But I didn’t.
They were 61 and 58…too young to die. My parents lived overseas and dedicated their lives to working at American International schools around the globe for 28 years. At the time, my father was the principal of kindergarten through 12th grade and my mother was a third grade teacher at the school.
For those of you who don’t know, carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless and is the second leading cause of poisoning deaths in the country. Carbon monoxide poisoning claims nearly 500 lives and another 15,000 require emergency room treatment per year. It can kill you before you know it because you can’t see it, smell it, or taste it. After they died, I sent emails out to everyone I knew encouraging them to check the detectors in their homes and their families’ homes. I quickly learned that Home Depot was doing a special on carbon monoxide detectors that month so I told people about it. I know that many went out immediately and purchased them for themselves and loved ones. Now, I continue to talk openly about this in hopes of encouraging others to install carbon monoxide detectors.
I learned so much from my parents. Mostly, I learned how to give selflessly. They were always giving; their time, love, attention, support and also money. Now I feel like it’s my duty to continue their legacy. About a year after they died, my sister and I got involved with the Susan G. Komen 3 Day Breast Cancer Walk (www.the3day.org). It’s a 60-mile walk over three days and you must fundraise to be a part of it. Breast Cancer does not run in my family but I know that it is a deadly disease that needs more people helping to fight it. I will be walking this year in San Francisco.
I have also decided to give blood every other month no matter where I am. It’s such an easy and fast thing to do that I don’t understand why everyone doesn’t do it. I think it’s important to always be on the lookout for new and innovative ways to help others and save lives. Even the littlest things can make all the difference. I know that my parents would be proud of the things I am doing.
It’s hard to be the one left behind to pick up the pieces, ask the unanswerable questions. It’s stupid to walk around angry at an inanimate object. Most of the time I just feel robbed. My parents were anything but done with this life. One week to the day before their lifeless bodies were found, they had decided to retire and return to the United States. They were anxious to see me start my new life after college and begin building my career. They looked forward to my sister and I having grandchildren (they would have been amazing grandparents) and had a long list of things they wanted to do to their Arizona home and trips they were excited to take. It’s unfair that they were taken from me too soon. I miss them every single day and ache to hear their voices again.
Feel free to follow me on my own blog, http://leahadamsinla.blogspot.com/.
“When you find yourself overpowered by melancholy, the best way is to go out and do something kind to somebody.” -John Keble