Tag Archives: kindness

Nice

An over-used word. Or so I was led to believe English lessons. It’s a boring adjective. It lacks imagination.

But, what’s wrong with nice? Nice is good. Being nice costs nothing but it sometimes means everything.

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Manchester

Today I had a conversation with a group of teenagers about the atrocities that unfolded in Manchester on Monday evening. I don’t have memories of such events from when I was their age. The IRA bombings that occurred in my childhood seemed too distant from me and I don’t remember feeling at risk. Even in my late teens when the World Trade Centre was hit, I still felt safe in my little town and would think to myself what would they want in Guisborough? Everything bad in the world seemed so remote and in some ways, you could shield yourself, or be shielded from it.  The young people I spoke to today are so much closer to what’s happened: they know people who were there and they know people who were injured.  They knew of the attack before they even rose from their beds on Tuesday morning, some before they fell asleep on Monday night.  They know details, they’ve seen pictures on their phones, they’ve speculated and debated. Some of them have probably cried. I look at my own children and am pleased they are too young to know what’s happened and, naively, I hope that by the time they are of an age to understand, that acts of terrorism are events in history books.

Perhaps since starting our Love Join Me project I’m more drawn towards the good things that go on in the wake of such attacks but I’ve noticed something. The more terror I see, the more kindness I see. Take away the one man (I won’t speculate on whether he acted alone) and you have hundreds, if not thousands of kind people who are willing to help others.

People held strangers, comforted children, pulled nails out of faces, searched for people they’d never met, offered free rides, food and drink, places to stay, warmth and a listening ear. They gave blood, they gave time and ultimately they gave hope. The ripple happened too.  A homeless man who selflessly ran to help the injured and the dying now has a home, some money and has been offered a job.

When the hubbub goes, the stadium opens again and the Manchester attack takes its place in history, we won’t forget the horror but we mustn’t forget the kindness either.

Pigeon Poo 

“It’s humbling being around a person such as you who despite being hurt can still be kind where kindness isn’t due”. 

This was said to me by a dear friend and it stopped me in my tracks and made me think.  I’d called myself ‘a mug’ and this was this person’s response. 

Sometimes I need to remind myself to describe myself in positive adjectives rather than negative. 

This person also said:

“Arguing with idiots is like playing chess with a pigeon. No matter how good you are the pigeon will sh*t on the board and strut around like it won anyway”

If I didn’t know it already, my friend is wise! Next time I’m feeling bogged down with pettiness, I might just sh*t on the chess board first. Or maybe I’ll just carry on being me. 

Piggy in the middle 

I was reminded of our innate kindness post just now in playing a game of piggy in the middle with my 4 and 2 year olds. Given that I’ve been struggling with illness the last few days this was no mean feat and it lasted all of five minutes! However, during the game (which was never going to be a huge success given the throwing and catching abilities of my two), I feigned falling over in a run for the ball so that my two year stood a chance of getting to it first. But, instead of going for the ball, she came over to me and said “you OK, mummy?”. I laughed and told her to go and get the ball to win. So she did. Only she came  straight back to me with it (I was still on the grass enjoying my feigned injury  rest!) and said “there you go mummy!”. 

I’m sure she just doesn’t understand the rules of piggy in the middle. But I’m enjoying her frequent attentiveness and “you ok now, mummy?” questions while it lasts. 

A long-thought of RAK for dementia

A lot of our Random Acts of Kindness were thought of when we first had the idea of doing this project. This 56th RAK was one such idea that came to us right at the start. 

People whom we are close to have been significantly affected by the loss of a loved one to dementia and  Alzheimer’s Disease.  Right through from diagnosis to death, this is a dreadful disease, robbing the person of their memory and robbing their family of the loved one that they know. The grief starts long before the death even happens. 

Having been through the loss of a parent who was diagnosed with a terminal illness, we have some experience of grief. But she was her until she died. She knew us. Alzheimer’s takes that away; it takes the person away from the body long before they die. 

Her father, for whom we did this RAK back in November, suffered from dementia as a result of a stroke before his death and it was dreadful to see him not knowing who people were. In some ways we were grateful that, for him, his suffering was for a short period of time. We can only imagine the impact that Alzheimer’s must have had on our close family members. 

Not only that, the nurses and carers who work with dementia sufferers every day are incredible. We imagine it to be a difficult job indeed. After all, once the residents are in a care centre for dementia there’s not exactly going to be a good outcome and the nurses and carers must deal with this time and time again.  They give up their Christmases, their nights and weekends, all for the caring of others, others who can no doubt be difficult at times. 

Over the last couple of days I have witnessed such care and compassion first hand. Whilst sat in A&E with little LJM2 (she has a probably but not definitely fractured leg!) I saw an elderly woman arrive with a carer. The woman obviously suffered from a form of dementia. The carers (I saw her again the next day at the fracture clinic with a different carer) were fantastic with her, despite being accused of hurting her, dressing her in someone else’s clothes and effectively kidnapping her. If it wasn’t so sad, it would have been amusing. The carers’ patience was amazing. I wish I had such resolve with my children’s repeated questions and their irrationality! 

Today, we put together the package for this RAK, dedicated to dementia sufferers and their nurses and carers. We sent some reusable pictures designed for dementia sufferers to be able to paint with water, along with some paint brushes. In the end I posted the package as, although I was meant to take it in person, one of the nurses who works there (and the reason we chose this RAK and this place) was working and we wanted to make sure we weren’t seen! 

Nervousness

The LoveJoinMes are nervous. Nervous because we know that it won’t be long until more people are reading this blog. Only this time, it’ll be people we actually know. We have over 400 Twitter followers now and some blog subscribers too. But these new people will be people we KNOW.  

When we set out on our Random Act of Kindness journey we always knew that this would be the eventuality. The fact that it’s going to happen soon is pretty scary. Some of our inner most grief-raw thoughts have poured into these pages. 

I spent some time reading over the blog this evening and taking in just what we’ve done these past 12 months. It’s quite a lot to take in! But, until the reveal, we have a few more RAKs to complete to keep us busy. 

Flowers for Strangers


Friends are not the only recipients of flowers today! Strangers have received flowers too. 

Each stranger was left a flower and an envelope explaining the RAK on their car. Well, one recipient had a soft-top car with the roof down so his was left on his driver’s seat. I watched him and another return to their cars, rather puzzled as to where the flowers had come from! 

I found this RAK quite difficult. I hated the thought of fiddling with people’s wipers in a public place and I definitely didn’t want to be spotted by the car’s owner. As I approached one car I noticed someone sitting in it so quickly made a sharp exit! In the end, I found a quieter car park and slotted the flower stem under the wipers without lifting them, hoping that the envelopes taped to the stem will weigh them down a bit! 

If you were the recipient of a flower today I hope it brightened your day! Pay it forward when an opportunity arises. We’d like that. 

Flowers for Friends

 
Freesias were her favourite flowers. She loved how scented they were. 

This Random Act of Kindness was for her two oldest friends who knew her the longest. We spent many holidays together growing up, had meals and played games at each other’s houses. There are many very happy memories that were created as a result of these friendships, friendships which will always be there somewhere even though she is no longer here. 


This was a nerve-wracking RAK because, although it’s anonymous, I am pretty sure that they will work it out easily. Plus, one friend was most definitely in when I left the flowers on the doorstep and ran away. At the other house, it looked like no-one was home but, because of all the windows facing the paths to the house, I left the flowers by the back gate. 


A boy of about 7 watched as I ran around with flowers and ran back to my car without them. I did have the thought of asking him to deliver them for me but thought that I should probably do it myself. 

It’s quite a windy day. I hope the flowers are found soon before they blow away! I know she would have liked this RAK. Time passes but her memory lives on and her old friends will know that their friendship is never forgotten. 

Seeking Refuge

 

In recent years, I have become familiar with the effects that Domestic Violence and Abuse can have on women and children.  It is an often surprising statistic that one in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Let me just repeat that: ONE IN FOUR! That means that you probably know someone who has suffered it, whether you know of it or not.  Since the start of this project I always knew that I wanted to help this cause in some way given that it has severely affected family members but, until now, I have been unsure of how I could make a difference specifically for this project .

Someone offered me kindness yesterday: they offered their hand in friendship to me and my biggest little one at a time when he and I feel very much on the outside and not sure what to expect with him starting school next month. It saddened me, though did not surprise me given the statistics, that she had experienced Domestic Violence and abuse.  Her words were familiar to me in that another person who is very close to me has experienced similar. Whilst in many ways the violence is over, the abuse in different ways does not always end. Whilst the violence has ended, the after effects of it on the affected person and their children are immeasurable and have a permanent and changing effect on them as people.

So, this morning, I began to think of how I could help in some way. Neither of these incredibly strong and brave women needed to use directly the services of the charity Refuge but, thankfully, they have accessed support elsewhere. Having said that, many women and children do have to go to refuges.  I cannot imagine how difficult that must be for them.  Today I purchased an Emergency Pack on Refuge’s Website. The pack contains toiletries, clothing, food and children’s clothing & nappies (if needed) as well as providing emotional support and assessments with the specially trained staff.

This is a quote from the website as to how such things have helped someone:

“I have been welcomed with open arms. The refuge has been my home and it has changed my world. I have changed my outlook on life and being here has made me look at things positively. I can’t explain how grateful I am.” Lucy*, refuge resident (name changed).

I hope that, in some small way, our parcel will help someone who is fleeing from abuse. Having seen the effects first hand, it is so important that people have support and help and are offered, above all else, kindness and the ability to see that they have a future that is much better than the life that they are leaving behind.

Woman unpacking an Emergency parcel

Kindness Rocks! 

Kindness Rocks! It does indeed! 

LJM2 visited me last weekend and together we collected a few beach rocks and decorated them with the children’s paints and some varnish. 



On Thursday I took the rocks on holiday with me to the highlands of Scotland where we are staying on holiday. This morning we went for a walk around the small loch in the village and my little LJMs helped leave them in places by the water-side footpath. We also left a couple of posters at the entrance points to the Loch to explain what they were.


Our hope is that the rocks end up spread far and wide and that people will take them home or take them and leave them somewhere new for someone else to find. The rocks are designed to bring happiness to the finder and as such they may pass on that happiness in the form of kindness to others. 

If you have found one of our rocks please let us know. Leave a comment on our blog or tweet us! We’d love to know where our rocks end up. 

This Random Act of Kindness is our 50th! How exciting is that!