Patrick and Stacy have a mountain of medical bills from Bear's three weeks of hospitalization and litany of tests, plus their regular bills. Both of them were out of work for three weeks, and if they don't work, they don't get paid.
"But we were not leaving his side no matter what, even if we lost the house," Stacy said.
Several fundraisers have been planned for the family. A silent auction was held at the Bel Air Athletic Club, where Bear went to pre-school. And this Sunday, May 19, is the "Walk for Bear" tribute and fundraiser, being organized by some of the moms in Bear's class.
"I want to do this because this touched me deeply. Bear and my son were in the same preschool class and we are a pretty close-knit group. As we spent the year together, we get to know the moms, dads and the kids," Cathy Frattali said. "I helped every Friday so I get really involved. Bear's story touched us all as it could have been anyone of our children. A tragedy like this that seems to have no reason is all the more heart-breaking.
"We wanted to do a walk as a fundraiser for Bear to celebrate his love of the outdoors. Stacy and their family embrace living life to the fullest. Bear touched so many lives and he had such a sparkle and contagious energy. Bear deserves to be remembered and celebrated in a way that brings families and nature together. We hope that everyone joins us on Sunday to help show our and support for the family," Frattali said.
The walk is from 10 a.m. to noon at Jerusalem Mill. Tickets are $20 a person, $30 a couple and $40 for a family.
Chris and the kids and I will be there Sunday, and I would encourage everyone to try and come walk.
We'll also be eating at Chick-fil-A in Forest Hill, 1980 Rock Spring Road, on Tuesday, June 4, sometime between 4 and 9 p.m., when the proceeds from ticketed sales that night will be donated by Chick-fil-A to Bear's family. (You must have a flier to have the proceeds donated. Anyone who needs one can contact me and I will gladly e-mail it to you.)
I would encourage anyone who can to help out Bear's family during what has got to be the most difficult times they'll ever face in their lives. It's not something I can even begin to understand. All I can do is lend a hand, and an ear when necessary, and perhaps some paper.
Patrick, Stacy and Eva are doing what they can to deal with the loss of their son. They have good times and bad times.
"We miss him, miss having new memories," Patrick said. "But at the same time we're happy to have brought him into this world. I think every day he had a happy day. At the end of the day he was always smiling, and that makes me smile."
And they would say to all parents: "Don't take any moment for granted. You never know when it's going to end. You never get those moments back."