acts of kindness
Patricia Constance Conroy Desonier: born on May 6th, 1917, she married my father on May 26th, 1947,
and died in her sleep on September 24, 1994.
My mother never complained about how much pain she experienced in her life. Diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis as a teenager, she lived with this debilitating condition, staying as active as she wanted to be. When I was a young adult, I told Mom how much I respected her for her activity level, knowing each deformed joint in her body never let her forget the disease that got progressively worse as the years wore on. Mom’s response, “If I stay at home and do nothing, I’ll still hurt. I’d much rather be active, doing something I love, and hurt more.” Nothing stopped my mother – absolutely nothing. She took neighborhood walks; she golfed using special clubs with thickened grips; she made all our clothing; she painted the insides of each home I lived in and stripped and restored wood furniture that stayed with the family in various iterations throughout our lives.
Mom encouraged me to write from a very early age. As a four-year-old, she let me pound on her manual typewriter, typing gibberish but encouraging me to read my “stories” to the family at dinner time. My current soft activism can be attributed to both my parents, but especially to my mother. I say “soft” activism, not because I pull punches, but because I learned how to have an impact on others without offense, without judgment, and with a kindness that speaks far louder than words. Like my mother, I won’t stand for injustice; also like my mother, I won’t dish out unjust behavior just so my voice can be louder than the offending voice. I guess the phrase, “Kill ’em with kindness” is applicable in this respect. My mother killed many a person in that manner.
Mom didn’t miss out on seeing all of her grandchildren, including my daughter, Erin, above, but she did miss out on meeting my extraordinary husband, Jerry, and his two daughters, which she would have welcomed as her own granddaughters. Dad had the privilege of getting to know my husband and he met my additional two daughters, and for that, I am truly grateful. I honor Mom today – her birthday – and every day because she deserves the same honor and respect she bestowed on others, including my father with whom she was married for forty-seven years.
I love you Mom and am so pleased you live within me.
The more I examine good news, the more I am convinced that it does not take extraordinary efforts to be the producer of such news.
Case in point: recently during a fallen officer procession in Birmingham, Alabama, an officer stood at attention in the pouring rain, drenched to the skin. Her dilemma did not go unnoticed. A perfect stranger rectified the situation showing respect for her, and respect for the fallen officer. You can read all about it right here.
I am so thrilled to offer this local story in a town called Lake Stevens where both of my husband’s daughters live. We take for granted the comfort and warmth of our homes or apartments when some people’s reality is not having any way in which to heat their abodes. This featured family is chopping hundreds and hundreds of cords of wood and giving it away to anyone who needs it. Their good deeds have been featured nationally and in other countries. One of the family members was astounded at the reach of their simple act of kindness. “It’s amazing to see because a lot of people out there don’t believe that good exists, and we’re showing that it still does,” said Henry.
Good news travels fast, yes?
This week’s kindness spotlights the Women’s Fiction Writers Association (WFWA) a fabulous group for writers of women’s fiction. Most if not all the administrative staff is volunteer – the reason why their kindness is this week’s selection. As a member of this organization, I was given the opportunity to have a podcast recorded for their Hear Me Roar program because I’m a debut author. Although my novel, Requiem for the status quo was released a year ago, it was my debut publishing effort.
This podcast is approximately 30 minutes in length, and although my novel is certainly the focus, much attention was spent on the prevalence of Alzheimer’s and other dementias in the world. Perhaps this podcast will keep you company on your commute in the next few days; although it may seem a bit choppy, I think it’s worth hanging in there to hear my, and the host’s, provocative discussion.
Those family members who have had, or who currently have, a family member or close friend with Alzheimer’s or other dementia, you are my hero.
You took on the task of showing your love and compassion by signing up to become a family caregiver which at its best is a learn-as-you-go, long-term commitment. Your efforts make a difference in the life of your loved one. They may not be able to express their appreciation for all that you do, but please know that the essence of who they are acknowledges your kindness.
Your name and/or identity may be lost to them, but you are still a vital part of their lives, and your friendly and loving demeanor goes far toward affirming them and making them feel valued and loved.
Thank you for all that you have done, continue to do, and will remain doing in the future. It is an honor to be in your company.
Requiem for the status quo was released by Black Rose Writing on July 20th. You can order Requiem at Barnes & Noble and Amazon as well as all online and brick and mortar chain and independent bookstores. Be sure to shop around for the best price, you won’t be sorry you did. And for those of you with eReaders, the eBook will be available at most online book retailers on, or about, July 27th.
I’m launching a new series this year called Kindness Fridays. You’ll still be privy to my Lighten up Mondays series (humor to start your week) but with Kindness Fridays, I’ll report on at least one episode of kindness that was recently extended to me. My first kindness encounter actually occurred in December of last year and was the inspiration for this new blog segment.
The beginning of December, I road the bus into downtown Seattle to have lunch with my sister-in-law. I allowed for plenty of time to do some Holiday shopping prior to meeting up with her.
One particular shopping structure called Pacific Place has an entrance through a Barnes & Noble bookstore. Not being super familiar with Pacific Place but pretty sure I could access it through B&N, I chose that entrance. Upon entering, a security guard greeted me. I asked, “Can I enter the rest of the mall through this store?” He assured me I could and provided instructions for me to do so.
There were escalators to ride up and down and quite frankly I got confused and arriving at the top of an escalator, I found myself right back where I started. The security guard – whose job it was to stand at the street entrance to the store – noticed me, waved, and walked over to me.
“I’m sure you gave me the correct instructions but somehow or another I translated them incorrectly.”
“No problem, let’s go down this escalator and I’ll show you.”
“Really, you’ll escort me to the mall entrance?”
We talked on the way down and upon arriving at the bottom of the escalator, he walked me to where I could access the Mall.
“Thank you so much for taking the time to do this. That was very thoughtful of you.”
He lightly touched my arm and said, “That’s why I’m here, I was happy to do so. Happy Holidays and enjoy your day.”
Wow. Such a brief yet powerful interaction but it was an act of kindness, the positive effects of which still remain with me today.
I published this post in June of 2015. I am re-blogging it today as part of my weekly effort to propose – and promote – kindness. Just as we have the ability to recognize happiness in our own daily lives, we can also nurture a better quality of life in others, one small act of kindness at a time.
Every day, and every encounter during each day, we have the opportunity to do good, or to do bad; to improve upon someone’s day, or ruin it for them. Right now, or at the end of this day, thi…