By: Sona Mehring, Founder of Caring Bridge
As founder of CaringBridge, the nation’s most established social networking platform for people immersed in difficult medical journeys, my exposure to the struggles of patients, family caregivers and loved ones seems reason enough to just skip the holidays! Instead, I feel inspired. Across more than 550,000 CaringBridge websites that have received 2 billion visits over 18 years, I am awed by the power of hope and compassion that shine through a health crisis. In moments of celebration – Outside the Incubator!– and in the terrible times, too, I have come to believe in the gift of healing.
I can’t pretend to explain this gift, but I experienced it when I created the first CaringBridge site in 1997. My dear friends, JoAnn and Darrin, had endured a life-threatening pregnancy, days in the NICU and the devastating loss of their newborn daughter, Brighid. I never imagined what Darrin’s exhausted request for me to “Just let everyone know what’s going on,” would become. I also never imagined the sea of caring people whose waves of love and support had surged through the Internet to comfort her parents while in the NICU. During those days, I saw what healing looks like.
Any time you can give – or receive – the gift of healing this holiday season, do it! The gifts come as much from taking time to express encouragement as they do from pausing to take in encouragement. My hope is that for a brief minute, you, too, may experience the essence of the “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year.”
Sona Mehring is founder and CEO of the global nonprofit organization CaringBridge.org, based in Eagan, MN, and author of “Hope Conquers All.”