Thursday, October 13, 2011

Conquering Fears

Have you ever had one of those days where you are SO extremely excited for something but are equally terrified, nauseous and anxious about it all at the same time? I’m talking like a hard-core physical reaction from nerves here…not just some giddy nervous excitement.  It’s a crazy feeling but one that I have experienced quite a bit lately. Need an example? Remember when we took books to Children’s Hospital? I was so excited…SO, SO excited to be able to give back to the place that gave so much to our family and to see some familiar faces, but while driving there I had to fight my urge to do a U-turn in the middle of the interstate and drive back home. My hands were sweaty, I was breathing heavy, I may have even cried a little bit…maybe. The thought of walking into that building without my little girl conjured up a whole variety of emotions in me.

That day was hard, but I had one a few weeks back that may have surpassed it.

On Friday, September 23rd I made my first official trip to the Avera Children’s Specialty Clinic without little Charlotte. I hadn’t seen Dr. Sami (cardiologist) or his nurse Holly since the horrible day that we lost our little girl. I take that back…one day I saw Dr. Sami from a distance as he walked through the building where I work, and immediately my heart started pounding and I saw little spots in my vision. HA! If the sight of him from 50 feet away sent me into a panic, I could only imagine what sitting down with him face-to-face was going to be like! Bottom line, I was nervous as hell. But on the other hand I wanted this day so badly. The people in that clinic took care of me before they ever took care of Charlotte and in a crazy way, I missed them.

So why all of a sudden did I get up the courage to go back into a building that I knew was going to be so incredibly difficult???

A “Books for Charley” donation! Pretty good reason, right!?

That morning I loaded up a cart of books in my office (I work right next door) and rolled my way over to the clinic. Once again, my heart rate started to pick up (good thing I was going to a cardiology clinic!), my stomach started to churn and I fought the urge to turn and run. Ok…so maybe, just MAYBE there were some more tears. I walked through the front door and with a lump in my throat announced that I was there to drop off some books. I did it. I was IN the building!

From there it’s pretty much a blur. I spent an hour in the clinic that day, mostly talking to Dr. Sami and Holly. We talked about everything…life, Charlotte, the future. We talked about the amazing response we got for “Books for Charley” and about how some of Dr. Sami’s other patients actually contributed as well. We hugged, we cried, we laughed. It was a good day. A good, scary, exhausting day.

But now for the exciting news! We were able to donate an additional 195 books to the clinic! That brings the 2011 “Books for Charley” grand total to ONE THOUSAND TWO HUNDRED AND THIRTY FOUR BOOKS! Yes, 1234 books! And that’s not including about 300 books that were a little more “worn” and will be going to a local women’s and children’s shelter. You guys are SOOOOOOOOOO awesome and I can’t even begin to thank you enough!

I stopped by the clinic again this morning to drop off some more books. This time around I did it with my chin up. I wasn’t nervous, I wasn’t anxious, there were no tears. And when I got to the clinic, what did I see??

A little library in the waiting room! How awesome is that?!  (Sorry for the blurry cell phone pics)

What’s even more awesome? Check out the bottom shelf!


The clinic manager had the staff pick out a special little shelf that they could put our little girl's name on.  My heart totally melted when I saw this.  It couldn't be more perfect.  If any of you from the clinic read this...THANK YOU SO SO SO MUCH!  I love that our little girl will continue to be a part of the clinic and hope that our little Charley library can bring smiles to the faces of lots and lots of kiddos!

As for "Books for Charley"...You haven't seen the last of us!  My plan as of now is to use this event as a way to continue celebrating the life of the Amazing Charlotte Delene Ritchie.  Look for the event to return in full force next May.  I've got all sorts of ideas bouncing around my head for round two!  If you have books that you wanted to donate before then, just let me know and we'll work something out.  I will never ever turn away donations!

What a lucky girl Charlotte was to have such amazing love surrounding her!


  1. Brings a smile to my face!!!!!

  2. OH my gosh, that is so great! It brought tears to my eyes, seeing the special shelf with her sweet little name on it. :)

  3. Smiling right now reading this and what has been done for precious Charley!! {{{HUG}}}

  4. I'm so proud of you. I'm a crying mess, but am so happy that "Books for Charley" has reached the magnitude of people that it has. It makes my heart smile!


  5. Wow. How incredibly special, Kristen. Seeing that little library just for her leaves me speechless. Speechless with a smile. I was actually thinking about you and your little girl as I walked into work today...and then a butterfly flew right in front of me. Completely caught me off guard and totally brought on teary eyes and a smile. You are never far from my mind.