September 16th, 2011. That was the day we lost our son, Ethan, in a tragic car accident on our way to Disney to celebrate his 7th birthday. Every year since the accident, Septembers have been a month I dreaded. You see, Ethan passed away on September 16th and his birthday was on the 19th. I couldn’t celebrate his
life without his death coming first.
If you knew Ethan, you’d know he was the most kind, empathetic, and giving soul you ever met; light absolutely radiated out of him. He was always spreading kindness every day of his short, nearly 7 years on this earth.
Three years ago, September was quickly approaching and the feeling of dread set in. I always loved remembering Ethan’s memories he left with us, but they would leave me feeling disheartened, in September especially. A few memories in particular played in my mind as I was sitting in the Starbucks drive thru, ordering my usual Venti Pike, Black, No Room….
As I am reminiscing about Ethan in the Starbucks drive thru, waiting for my order, I realized he did random acts of kindness without even knowing he had done them. With each one of the things he did, he made someone’s day better. He always knew it was cool to be kind, it just came naturally. Now, while it doesn’t come natural to many people, I thought maybe I could help continue to spread some love by being more like Ethan.
In that moment, without wavering, I asked the barista if I could pay for the person behind me. She smiled and replied, “What should I tell them?'“ I paused for a second and blurted out,
“Tell them to pay it forward, for Ethan.”