Little Free Library coming to San Juan has heart-touching back story

By Emily Rasmussen

Being in the presence of San Juan Capistrano couple Lindon and Cassie Crow, it’s inarguable that the two burst at the seams with love, both of them adorning contagious smiles and candid laughter.

It’s difficult to comprehend that just one year ago, the two faced a tragedy that any parent fears most—losing a child.

After nine months of unwavering health in Cassie’s pregnancy, the couple were expecting their first child on June 1, 2017. Just one day short of the expected due date, something felt wrong when the baby stopped moving, and for unknown reasons, their worst fear was confirmed by doctors on May 31 that there was no longer a heartbeat.

“You know the end of the story, but you don’t want to believe it,” Lindon said about that day.

On June 3, Cassie gave birth to a boy. His name was Bodhi, and although he was not alive, he looked perfect to Cassie and Lindon. There were mixed emotions of extreme pain, then happiness, laughter and then tears, Lindon recounted. The couple had a photographer come after the birth to take photos, so they could always remember what their son looked like.

Following the loss of their son, family and friends tended to Cassie and Lindon for support. Cassie found an outlet for her grief by journaling, writing on social media and creating a blog about what she was going through.

“I would just put it out there and so many mothers around the country reached out to me saying ‘This is so great that you’re talking about this because I feel like I can’t talk about this, nobody gets it and nobody understands,’ and I’m like, let’s talk!” Cassie said.

Once the couple started to get back on their feet, they wanted to thank the family and friends who took care of them when they needed help most. So, Cassie and Lindon wanted to send out thank-you cards. However, filling out a thank-you card just didn’t feel like a good enough response to the help that the couple received, Cassie and Lindon recalled.

So, they came up with a more creative idea—to pay the thanks forward to someone else in acts of kindness.

“Once a week, I pull a card from our pile of cards, and we go ‘OK, we’re going to do something nice for someone else in the world in honor of Bodhi and the (person who they are sending the thank-you card to),” Cassie said.

The acts of kindness range, from buying someone a gift to giving a helping hand. Cassie and Lindon also talk about Bodhi, their experience and the joy that he gave them and how they want to continue that.

“Let’s keep talking about him and his story, what he’s done for us, it puts something good out and hopefully people will take that and keep the ball rolling,” Lindon said.

After doing the act of kindness, Lindon and Cassie write to the person who they were sending the thank-you card to, and explain what they did to pay their gratitude forward. They also encourage the letter’s recipient to do the same, accompanied by a small card that talks about Bodhi and paying kindness forward.

“We’re going to love this project and take care of it, and the best part of it is, is that I think it’s going to take me 18 years to get through all of the parts and do kindness acts,” Cassie said.
“Which I’m excited about because somebody’s going to get a card six years from now saying thank you and here’s what your support did for us and it did touch somebody else in this way.”

The next step in paying it forward for Bodhi is that there will be a Little Free Library—small, front-yard book exchanges that span the globe—with his name on it in San Juan Capistrano. The specific location is yet to be determined, but Cassie and Lindon hope that they will be able to put the library up within the next month or so. To continue the acts of kindness, the couple will be putting the “pay it forward for Bodhi” cards in the Little Free Library as well.

“Bodhi is still our son, and as much as he is not physically here, we still want to celebrate his life and have him be a part of our life; not anything crazy or weird, but we want to talk about him.”

Also, a happy sidenote to the Crow family story, Cassie is pregnant once again.

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