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Why One Dad Is Encouraging Other Parents to Cherish ‘Stolen Moments’ With Their Kids

Stolen Moments

Savannah Carroll

The thought of losing a child is too much for most parents to even imagine. Larry Carroll doesn’t have to imagine it — because he lived it. On April 4, the Los Angeles-based dad awoke to find his 2-year-old daughter Savannah dead in her crib, according to Today.

There is no understanding the grief of parents in this situation. Alyssa Genshaft knows this well, as does Phyllis Sommer. Carroll (no relation to me) immediately realized that he needed to do something in his grieving process, and that was to tell other people to appreciate what he no longer could, namely: stolen moments. He went online and encouraged parents to really appreciate each moment with their children, but he also took it a step further. The same day Savannah died, Carroll started a campaign so that he could find a family and give them money, so that they could really give their little girl what he can’t.

To date, the campaign has raised over $80,000 thanks to contributions from over 3,000 people. Carroll says of the fundraising effort, in part, on the site:

One thing that does give me solace is that when ‘Savvy’ was with us, we shared lots of unplanned memories with her. A surprise trip to an indoor playground, an unexpected cookie at Starbucks, a walk along the beach on a random Tuesday afternoon — and I came to refer to these as “Stolen Moments.”

I’m feeling very powerless right now. But people have already begun asking how they can help, and in the days ahead I don’t want a bunch of money to be thrown away on flowers. I’d recommend a charity for people to make donations in her honor, but I’m very weary of the way many charities take your money and use them to pay overhead. The only way I can handle this powerlessness, I figure, is with the power to give someone else joy.

So, here’s my idea: If you’d like to make a donation in Savannah’s name — any size — please do it here. And my dream is to take every penny of those donations, locate a special little girl somewhere in the world — and give her and her family the “Stolen Moment” that we’ll never be able to make with our baby Savannah.

I will find a family somewhere — someone I have never met before and has no connection to anyone I know — and help them make a Stolen Moment. The only 3 requirements are that they have a little girl, that they very clearly love her, and that they don’t have the financial means to typically do this sort of thing.

Carroll told Today that he thinks this campaign will help show his wife that “there was a reason to go on, that there was joy in the world.” He plans to pick a girl and send her on the journey of her dreams — although all money past the $10,000 mark will go into a college fund for her. Carroll estimates that by the end of the summer, he and his wife will travel somewhere to look for the girl and her family they want to honor. The only caveat is that he will ask for the girl’s parents to meet with him and his family afterwards and tell them all about the adventure so they can “live vicariously through their joy.”

It seems incredible that a grieving dad could have so much perspective so soon after such an inconceivable loss. But there’s much joy — and generosity — to be found in encouraging others to live with the benefit of your hindsight.

“I stole a lot of moments with my daughter, but if she had lived, I’d be stealing more and more and more till the day I died,” Carroll said. “I’m trying to concentrate on the 28 months of wonderful times I had with her.”

To share photos and stories of your stolen moments with your kids with Larry Carroll, tweet him @LarryCarroll or use the hashtag #StolenMoments.

Photo credit: Savannah’s Stolen Moment Campaign

More from Meredith on Babble:

Follow Meredith on Twitter and check out her regular column on the op-ed page of The Denver Post at MeredithCarroll.com

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