You might have heard the news on April 15, when Todd Heap, a fine man who played football for 10 years as a Baltimore Raven (and 2 more in Arizona) accidentally killed his 3-year-old daughter. Little Holly was in the driveway when Heap got in his truck to move it, and the worst thing imaginable came true in an awful horrible hurry.
You hear about these things now and then, and you wonder how a man and his family can move past the feelings of loss and anguish. We wonder, and all the while, the Heap family deals with it every day, and all we know for sure is that the agony they live with must be even worse than the agony we imagine they live with.
Knowing what a fine man Heap is (he gave a million dollars to the hospital next to where I used to work to set up a pediatrics ward) I am not surprised to see that his family want people to "share hugs and spread love and joy through random acts of heartfelt kindness" today.
Today, May 3, is Holly's birthday. She turns 4 in heaven.
The family has put up the website hugsfromholly.com to help spread the word of what they wish.
"Holly was known to give the best hugs, and her love for everyone and everything in life was contagious. Let’s spread this joy as we scatter sunshine in Holly’s honor on her birthday," says the page, which recommends wearing pink in honor of the little girl, and also helping others:
"Smile more. Compliment somebody. Write a kind note. Share treats (or chicken nuggets). Do a free lemonade stand. Leave a bigger tip than usual. Pay for the person behind you in the drive-thru. Donate a book in Holly’s honor. Turn up the music and dance … the list is endless. Be creative!"
You can spread the love a little further today. Take a picture of what you do for the cause and put it on social media with the hashtag #hugsfromhollyday.
And if you're so inclined, there's a link on hugsfromholly.com to the Baltimore Community Foundation, a charitable group that benefits our town.
There's an old expression, "God gives burdens, also shoulders." Todd Heap is as big a man, and strong, as there ever was, and this one moment in his life buckled his knees in grief. Here's a way we can help him and his family back up.