First I want to thank Tui’s Mom for taking the time to share with us about Tui, his life, and what Tui’s Treasures is and means to her and her family. She was kind enough to allow me to interview her and post photos of sweet Tui for you all to get to know him a bit. I am sure you will be touched by the interview as much as I was.
“Here on The Kusi Life I like to learn about and look for ways to help ourselves, our families and friends cope with the many things that are thrown at us throughout life and look for the happiness in the day to day. When I saw Tui’s Treasures on Face Book I immediately wondered what it was all about. Reading further, I learned a bit about Tui’s life, the struggle to get him here, the time he spent in the hospital with his sicknesses, and the love and happiness he brought to your family. I am so sorry that you and your family have to go through such a horrible thing of losing a child, a brother, a grandchild, a nephew, a cousin, and a friend. I feel honored that you would be willing to share with me and my readers about Tui’s Treasures, and what it means for you and your family.
Could you tell us a little about sweet Tui and how special he is?
Tui was our little miracle baby. He made his debut into the world at barely 32 weeks, he weighed 2 lbs and had a really rough go. We were told on several occasions that Tui wouldn’t make it but he was a fighter and no matter how hard it got he always seemed to pull through. He was a beacon of light for our family, always smiling, always up for snuggles and could tell the best knock knock jokes I’ve ever heard from a 2 yr old. Tui never had a “terrible two’s” phase and in fact I can count on less than one hand the number of times he was sent to time out (his usual offense was sneaking candy after he didn’t eat his dinner). ? Tui was a lover of all things superhero, he was 100% convinced that his dad was “The Hulk” and he was attached to him at the hip. He loved his siblings and usually got suckered into being “the puppy” while playing house with his siblings, but my absolute favorite thing was to hear him pray and sing “I am a child of God.” He had such a STRONG testimony that I never realized until after the accident. He knew who he was and I’m certain he knew his time on earth would be short.
Would you mind telling us what Tui’s Treasures is, and how it all got started?
Tui’s treasures was created after a *now* dear friend reached out to me after the accident. She told me of a webpage that she had created in memory of her son. I knew from the moment she told me that this would be what helped me get through our loss, I cautiously asked for her permission to create my own page similar to hers but more personal to Tui. After she gave us the “green light” it didn’t take long for us to create what is now Tui’s treasures.
Just so everyone understands how Tui’s Treasure works:
Anything super hero is “hidden” in places where kids or adults will find it like the park, restaurant, school, trails, a store – really wherever you would like. Attached to the gift is a paper that looks like this:
It states: “In loving memory of Tui Harding, Tui has selected you to be a part of his superhero crew. Tui has hidden toys all over the world for others to enjoy, please join us in keeping his memory alive by sharing a picture of you and your treasure on this Facebook page. As a crew member you can hide your own superhero treasure for others to find. Lets help the world #LiveAndLaughLikeTui”
When you hide a treasure you post a photo on the face book page found here, likewise when you find a treasure you post a photo. From personal experience, my kids and I loved seeing someone find our treasure! It is then your turn to “hide” a treasure somewhere. Anyone can participate, you don’t have to wait to find one to hide one, and the hope is that more and more people will participate, bringing more smiles and happiness to kids around the world!
What are some of the feelings you and your family experience each time another toy is hidden or found?
One of our most favorite things to do as a family is to sit around our living room floor and scroll through pictures on Tui’s page. It is humbling but also such a great joy to see so many smiley faces. Tui was known for his infectious smile and love for life so the more smiles we see the more happy it makes our grieving hearts. Tui’s treasures has made it to about 33 states and 10 countries, which far more than we ever dreamed. We are beyond grateful to everyone who has supported us in our journey to keep Tuis memory alive, it has been one of our biggest blessings.
When a family member or a friend loses a loved one, often times we are not sure what to say or how to act. What are some things that people said or did that has helped you and your family through this hard time?
I think every person is different when it comes to how they handle and cope with grief. For me I always wanted to hear the hopeful side of things, I knew all to well the excruciating pain I was feeling and I needed to be lifted up so I didn’t drown in that pain. It didn’t matter what people said to me I tried really hard to just feel the love that they had for our family. My advice to anyone that has lost a loved one would be: don’t worry about what people say and focus more on the fact that they are saying it out of love, and for people that are wondering what to say my advice would be: to follow the promptings of the spirit, share how “their” story has touched your families lives. Hearing that Tui’s story impacted someone else’s life in a positive way always brought peace to my heart.
What are some things we can do as a community to help spread the word about Tui’s Treasures and leave more happiness through these fun gifts?
From my own experience the best way to spread the word is through social media: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. Sharing “Tui’s treasures” page would be a huge help and taking about your experience with friends, family, and church members is the best way to get the word out. For us sharing pictures of either hiding or finding is our biggest reward so If you’d like to participate make sure to share your pictures for us to see. One of my personal favorite things is seeing the smiles of kids not only finding toys but hiding toys. I don’t think it comes natural for children to buy something they love and then give it away. When I see kids smiling as they hide toys it touches my heart and makes me grateful for the lessons my own children have learned being apart of something so special.
Its so much fun for children to find Tui’s Treasures, but I want to focus on the benefits that children learn from giving to others. My brother was headed cross country and so we decided to get some Tui’s Treasures to send with him. When we got to the toy aisle my kids stared asking for things, almost whining. I reminded them of our mission – find Tui Treasures to send with their uncle. Their focus changed and it was about getting something fun for someone else. I gave them a budget and told them we had to stay within that amount. I started hearing things like “This would be fun” or “I think they would like this”, no longer asking what they could get. Now each time I go to the store and we see something super hero the question is always “Mom, can we get this for Tui’s Treasures?” I love that! Focusing on bringing happiness to others – that is what it is all about.
Each day my brother called to tell me where he “hid” one of the treasures he said it was actually a lot of fun and broke up the ride for him. Later we were talking and he told me that he thought about Tui the whole trip, and still keeps thinking about him. When you participate in something like this you change, your point of view changes about the world and what people could be facing.
Some of his friends out in Alaska saw his posts and realized that their son shared Tui’s birthday. It really hit home for them and they began hiding treasures as well. Her sister out in Virgina wanted to participate and hid some out there, and so the spreading of love continues.
Our kids benefit from participating in beautiful things like Tui’s Treasures, but you know, so do we. I hope that you will find something that touches your heart like Tui’s Treasures and take a little time to spread some love today.”