Katie McQuaid's Scene in Manchester: Parents share what 'CJ' taught them
1. Life is not about the past or the future — it is all about maximizing the present moment.
3. No matter how bad you think you have it, someone is going through something worse.
4. Routines have a place in your life to maintain order, but don't get so caught up in them that you forget to stop and smell the roses (even if that's not on your to-do list).
6. Opposites exist in this world in order to give you perspective. As an example, you cannot experience pure joy without having experienced deep sorrow.
8. It's not about how tall you are, how handsome or beautiful you may be, how rich you become, or how long you live. It's all about how many lives did you have a positive impact on while you were here.
10. You are stronger than you think you are. There is literally nothing in your life that can defeat you if you just keep taking ONE more step.
If you are a Facebook user, there is a good chance you have come across the Kosinskis' "Lessons Learned" or one of the many other Facebook posts about their family's heart-breaking but beautiful journey over the last two months. Their words of sadness and celebration — wonderful reminders of how short and precious life is — have been read, shared, and re-shared by friends and strangers all over Manchester and beyond. Parents, especially, are slowing down, putting down their phones and spending more quality time with their children.
In early January, the Kosinskis shared with their Facebook networks that CJ — affectionately called "The Boston Burrito" — had suddenly stopped breathing and had been rushed to the ICU at Elliot Hospital.
I write about CJ and his family today because I am so grateful to them for being unafraid to share their story and incredible faith. Death, especially a child's death, can be a scary thing to talk about. But through John and April's words and pictures, we got to see how beautiful and purposeful CJ's life was, right up until the end.
One lesson the Kosinskis are certainly learning is how much love their community has for them. People they have never met are reaching out to them.
"I tell people that every 'like, comment, post, message, email, phone call, text, prayer, card, etc.' does not go unnoticed. We see all of them. My husband said that our friends and family and community are giving us the industrial strength glue to help piece us back together," wrote April.
• On Wednesday, March 26, Murphy's Tavern is holding a Dine N' Donate event, donating a portion of proceeds earned from 4 to 7:30 p.m. to the Burrito Strong fund.
• On Monday, April 7, 900 Degrees is holding a Raising Dough for CJ event from 5 to 9 p.m.
If you are unable to attend any of these events, but still want to help, visit GoFundMe.com and search for Burrito Strong.
I cannot wait for this Thursday's Dancing with the Stars gala to benefit Manchester Community Music School. As a judge, I get a front-row seat to watch local "celebrities" show off the moves they have learned while training with professional dancers over the last few weeks.
This year's celebrities are Cathy Schmidt, executive director and CEO at McLane Law Firm; Pubali Chakravorty Campbell, owner of Bikram Yoga Manchester; Alex Walker, senior vice president, operations and strategy at Catholic Medical Center; and Joe Graham, vice president/general manager, Clear Channel New Hampshire.The evening begins at 5:30 p.m. at the new student center at Manchester Community College, and includes a cash bar, food and auction. Music for the Broadway-themed night will be played by the NH Youth Jazz Ensemble conducted by Carl Benevides.