This Mother’s Day moms and their loved ones are celebrating with brunches and family gatherings. On this special day we celebrate her in a special way by sharing the message of a great mother at The Jester & Pharley Phund.
While we formally celebrate mothers just one Sunday in May each year, any mother will tell you that children bring unexpected gifts every day. We usher these small beings into the world, we nurture them, pour heart and soul into raising them. We do our best in a complex and challenging world, never quite sure whether what we are doing is the right thing, the best thing. But then there is that smile, laugh, or little gesture. When we’re least anticipating it, our children give back – to us and to others – in big and small ways, remarkable ways.
And so it was with my son David. Though I lost him to cancer when he was just 22, I relish the gifts he gave me and the gift he continues to give to others through his timeless and inspiring children’s book, The Jester Has Lost His Jingle.
Since the book’s publication 20 years ago, I’ve met hundreds of mothers who’ve seen their children’s spirits sparkle with David’s gift of laughter.
- I met Autumn at Disney Elementary in Anaheim, CA, three years ago during our literacy program. Her son Jack, now 13, had never told his classmates that he had a brain tumor since he was 2. “Without The Jester, Jack would have never had the opportunity to let his classmates know what he has been dealing with,” Autumn told me. “David wrote an amazing story that will touch and bring hope to so many children and their families.”
- At Alabama Children’s Hospital 20 years ago, I visited 6-year-old Susie. She broke a nurse’s arm the day before because she was so scared of having her blood drawn. I read David’s story to her at her bedside. Her eyes never left each brightly colored picture. At the end of the story, Susie’s smile brightened even more when she got her own copy of the book and The Jester & Pharley Doll. Later, her mom told me that The Jester & Pharley helped her cope with her treatment.
- Isaac was 2 when he received The Jester in the hospital. “I love this book. It helps me all the time,” he told us last year at the L.A. Times Festival of Books. This year, Isaac and his mom paid us another visit at the book festival. Now 12, Isaac still can’t contain his enthusiasm for David’s story: “I have been grateful for this book for 10 years.”
On Mother’s Day, I reflect on the joys of motherhood, the gift of children. But I can’t help but reflect, too, on the pain and heartbreak motherhood can often bring. David was someone who felt deeply for others, wanted to do everything to help others. It was in that spirit that he wrote his book, as he himself was battling with cancer. He used his own gifts and talents to try to bring joy and hope to other children battling cancer. He wanted to replace pain with laughter.
What he didn’t anticipate was that his book would also be a gift to the mothers of children with cancer, mothers who would give anything to see their child relieved from pain, if only for a moment, anything to see their child smile, giggle, laugh.
This Mother’s Day, please consider honoring your mother or another important woman in your life by donating $10 to The Jester & Pharley Phund to give David’s story to one of the 15,700 children who will be diagnosed with cancer this year.
You may make your contribution through our website www.thejester.org or call 310-544-4733.
In honor of mothers everywhere, please help The Jester bring smiles, giggles, and laughter to children most in need and, in turn, bring their mothers the greatest Mother’s Day gift of all.
With love, Barbara
Please take the time to give and share the love on this holiday with Barbara and the mom you love.