Given to those who perform silent but heroic acts. Those that would never think of praising themselves. People who probably don't even realize how remarkable their actions are. Those who work hard to make the world a better kind of place, just by virtue of who they are and the decisions they make. For those much like brave sir Toby, who beats up on the english mastiff, only when he is sitting on your lap.
(I have another nominee, but she gets her own post, next week).
If you had to ask a dead baby mum what the hardest thing was, well, they would probably tell you, that after leaving the hospital with empty arms, it's the first time that you have to deal with a baby after yours has died. This is a particular type of hell, when that baby is the age that yours should have been. We all develop many coping mechanisms.
MLG joined our ranks just a few months ago. She's barely had time to get her feet under her. She's barely had time to find her voice, to remember how to breathe after this horrific hit to the solar plexus. It must have felt like the hits kept on coming. It must have felt like the pain would never go away.
True courage is not that we never feel overwhelmed, it's not that we are never frightened, it's just that we carry on, we treat others the way we want to be treated, even when the death of our child meant we didn't get treated the way we wanted to. MLG, lots of people in our world won't understand how much phoning your friend hurt. They won't get that this was real courage, and real care. But those of us out here, we know. We know how much it hurt, how hard it was. That noise you hear in the background, that's the standing ovation.
Ladies and Gentlemen, if you would join me, in not a toast, but a round of applause, if you would stand up and applaud, to MLG, who gave better than she got.
Debby's hair is growing back. Now, I know that this isn't the most exciting thing, but when you lost it because of chemo, and you have kept your chin up, and called yourself Uncle Fester, and made jokes about the time you save on shaving your legs, well, that's called making the best of a pretty darn rotten situation.
When you do it with a smile, when you show up to your daughter's university to speak about Cancer, when you work and struggle and love your kids and your husband, and when you still find time to think about the deeper meanings, and when you make more time for praise than protest, well that's fortitude.
Ladies and gentlemen, if you would join me in raising your glass, to Debbie's hair, and to the many things she's learned and shared in its absence. We are glad she had the lessons. We are gladder still that her hair has come back, and we wish her many more years with it, and never a single bad hair day.
And one final shout out, so to speak.
Dear Myles and Maddy, I know you both through your mummy's words and tears. I know you through your photo's. Through remembering. I know you in your mother's arms, waited for and beloved. And I will never know why you had to leave, and I would rather you were both here. But, I am glad for two little boys that can play together and a slightly older little girl, to torment the heck out of two little boys. Because they need that.
Got someone who deserves a Toby? Send me an email explaining why - it can be short, and I'll happily write it up.