I grew up on a farm, a ten minute drive from the nearest small town of Harrow, Ontario. My mom and several family members still live here: my great Aunt operates a local business and my cousin’s husband pastors our home church – the church Mark and I were married in, the same small church where my parents avowed their love and commitment 28 years earlier.
Canada’s small towns are slowly disappearing – being amalgamated into larger municipalities and this is an unfortunate loss to the Canadian landscape. Small towns are ubiquitously defined by their character, comfort and community. This is not to say that larger metropolitan areas are deficient – after having spent the last 10 years away from home, I recognize that the modern conveniences associated with larger population centres have their benefits but I am always grateful for my roots and the sense of community intrinsic to these smaller areas.
When my brother and sister-in-law, both employees at TD in nearby towns, informed me that the TD bank in my hometown was organizing a fundraiser for Theo and our family, I was humbled with gratitude. Life has carried me away from my home and still these individuals selflessly devoted their time and effort to us – exemplifying the caring, supportive relationships that lay a foundation for a true sense of community.
The small phrase Thank You seems largely inadequate. Theo became sick one week after I returned from maternity leave, and both Mark and I have been off work since that time. Our focus these last two months has been Theo’s care – when you’re told to expect your son’s passing at any point, it leaves little room for much else. But in the back of our minds, our current and future financial state allowed additional worry to infiltrate. The generosity from my hometown has provided more that just assistance during a difficult time; it has provided us with peace and assurance.
When Theo is strong enough to travel for more than short periods of time, I look forward to taking him back home for a visit – to the small town with a big heart.