Tag Archives: #ljm

46 – Race for Life

A sea of pink came down the hill over the horizon. I had my whistle and my foam hand at the ready.  I was positioned well; I could hear the start so I knew it wouldn’t be long before they approached. Having run a Race for Life before I remember seeing marshals at the side of the route, cheering and clapping and showing the way.  I never really thought about who they were and why they were there until now. Here I was with my own story, my life affected and changed by the terrible disease they were running for. There were thousands of them, I’m not sure exactly how many, but what surprised me was how many different people were doing it. There were older ladies, small children, teenagers, even young babies in slings and prams. One woman had a toddler on her back and a baby on her front! Let’s not forget the dogs!

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Being near the start meant that it wasn’t long before the back markers passed and I was able to wander back to the start and finish line. I was really surprised that the front runner beat me back – now that was a fast time! I managed to watch as the second and third runners came in and was surprised by a young girl who came in the top ten. It was so inspiring.  There were people selling flowers to raise money and the radio was encouraging you to buy them to give to family and friends running the race. I bought one and waited a while until a little girl ran near me and I gave her the flower.

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I decided to wander back to the volunteering tent and on my way went via the board where people were putting their back signs – signs that showed who they were doing it for. It was moving – so many people affected by cancer, so many people whose lives have been changed because of this terrible disease. There was even someone who’d dedicated their run to Caroline Aherne, who had died aged 52 just the previous day.  Many were running simply for “a cure” and I really hope the money raised today helps find just that.

I watched and clapped as the final people crossed the line. One of the final finishers was a young boy aged 8. He is called Kasabian and has been battling cancer since the age of 2. He has just finished 5 days chemotherapy and yet got round the whole 5km course. What an inspiring young man. 

We really need to find a cure! 

Kindness counts

Before starting this project we were, in my opinion, already kind people. That’s who she made us to be. I use ‘made’ figuratively of course – we are kind because we grew up around her kindness not because it was forced upon us. I remember her telling me that she once came across an old lady in the street who had died. She wrapped a blanket around her and sat with her while an ambulance came. When other people asked if the lady was ok, she pretended that she was fine just so as not to upset other people. Another time, one of LJM1’s colleagues abroad was planning to spend Christmas alone.  There was no question – she would spend Christmas with us. Even during that time, the time of her first diagnosis (Christmas eve of all days) she went out of her way for other people. She made her feel welcome in a time of family, of tradition, when many don’t let the outside in. I wonder what she would make of the political nightmare our country is going through now. She had no common language with our guest but that didn’t matter. She would never have bought into the anti-immigration rhetoric.

Whenever I get upset that my children won’t know what she was like or when I worry about being a good mum my husband always says something along the lines of “yes they will, they’ll know her through you” and “she taught you how to be a good mum by demonstration”.

This week I have done two things that you might call kind. I am not, however, counting them towards our Random Acts of Kindness. For one, they are borne out of guilt and two, they are based on things I should have done but didn’t.

I forgot my best friend’s birthday six months ago. Well, I say forgot when really I remembered too late and she came round and I realised I hadn’t even got her a card. I’ve felt guilty about that for six whole months, so guilty that I’ve never even brought it up with her! This week I sent her some flowers as a half-birthday present. It’s obviously a nice thing to do but it replaces a present I would have got her anyway (and alleviates my guilt massively). The second thing is I created and mailed a photobook of my children to a distant relative. I realised this week that  I don’t even know when her birthday is yet she always sends me a card and sends things to the children.  I feel guilty because she hasn’t even met my youngest child yet. I am going to make sure I see her soon, next time I’m up in her vicinity. Again, a nice thing to do but based on what? Guilt. I’ll draw your attention back to this post.

It’s true that some of the Acts of Kindness we’ve blogged about we would have done anyway. That’s not to say they’re not worthy of noting and counting towards our project. Kindness counts every day and there are many kind things we do that we don’t note. All of the times we hold doors open, smile at strangers, pick something up for someone… they all count. This week’s two acts, however I’m not counting. Instead, I’m using them to improve myself – I’m going to make sure they don’t need to happen because I’d have paid them the proper attention they deserved in the first place.

LJM2

 

 

 

Death 

This blog is meant to be uplifting, though its ‘uplift’ has stemmed from loss. Tonight, I can’t help feeling consumed by sadness at our world and the evil that seemingly resides in it.

I did not know Jo Cox. I had never even heard of Jo Cox. Yet tonight I am deeply sad and moved to tears watching the news. A woman, not that much older than me with children of similar ages to mine, murdered in her home town. Two children who will barely remember their mother, who will grow up without her.

I can’t pretend to know how that feels. Losing her was the hardest thing I have ever endured but I was an adult, able to process my emotions, try and understand it, almost prepare for it (though nothing can prepare you). These are two small children. How can they even begin to process where their mummy is tonight? When I was out giving blood last night my husband put our children to bed, little LJM2 asking repeatedly for ‘mummy’, as she always does. I wasn’t there and she slept. I can’t comprehend how that, for those children, that is forever. Mummy isn’t coming back. My heart is breaking for those children.

Losing a mum is like a special sort of ugly club that you don’t want to belong to.  At the same time you find people who understand you and it. No one wants to be in that club. No one wants others to join them. When they do, the club members feel like they should have the words to say to the newly bereaved but they can’t find them. At that moment, there’s nothing more awful and nothing anyone can say to make it better. I am a lucky member as I joined fully grown. There should be no children in it but now there are two more.  A mum is a guiding light, there to raise you to adulthood. In all intents and purposes, mine fulfilled that role. Jo never got the chance. She was a wife, a daughter and a million other things too, a rising political star by all accounts.

I am angry as well as sad tonight that someone thought that it was ok to take her life. Just why? When did anything become more important than life itself? We will probably never know the answers. Tonight our thoughts are of her.

Close To You


Yesterday was World Blood Donor day (I happened to stumble upon this on Twitter). It just so happens that today, I was booked into to give blood.

Giving blood is an Act of Kindness that hundreds of people do every day. I have done it twice myself before aged 17/18 but it has been a long time since then. During the 14ish years since my last donation, a lot has changed.

All that time ago, she regularly donated blood. It was one of the things that she was passionate about. I remember her telling us she was proud of us for doing it and proud when we signed up to be on the Bone Marrow register.  So, when she was no longer able to donate blood after her illness, she was incredibly upset that she could not continue to help others. It was her turn for the help. During her treatment she had a few blood transfusions. They were never going to save her life, not in her case. But the difference in her after a transfusion was incredible. She went from breathless and pale to relatively normal-looking (and breathing!) straight away. It improved her quality of life.
I have always intended to get back into giving blood. I lapsed due to moving to university and then abroad and I never started again despite meaning to. I wanted to do it for her, to repay the blood she used and more. Maybe I will help someone like her? Maybe if I’d still been donating all those years ago she could have had my blood, the blood she created, the very same type. Tonight I did it.

Walking into the donation room was familiar; I had been in the church hall many times before, a lot of them with her. When I walked in and sat down the song on the radio was one by The Carpenters: Close to You.

Just like me, they long to be, 

Close to you.

And I felt it. I was doing something she was proud of, listening to a song that reminded me intensely of her.

So they sprinkled moon dust in your hair and starlight in your eyes of blue. 

A memory came to me whilst in the toilet, of all places. I had been there before, with her. Only not just her, she was helping a small child. They girl was perhaps five. We had been watching a pantomime there and the girl was desperate for the toilet but the people she was with would not accompany her. She took her. I remember it clearly because the girl was covered in severe eczema and was uncomfortable. I remembered watching the kindness she showed, the poor sweet girl’s silent gratitude as she helped her and took her back to her seat. A small and almost forgotten memory but another showing her character.

Just like me, they long to be, 

Close to you. 

As I lay there, needle in arm watching interestedly as my blood was collected, my progress measured by the blood being weighed, I thought about all the others in the room. There were loads of people. What was their motivation? Where had mine been for all these missed years? I saw some familiar faces, a father I recognised whose daughter had had leukaemia. Was she his motivation? Everyone has some inspiration, some motivation, a reason for being there. I had mine. This project spurred me into action but I wish I had gone back sooner.

It was painless and easy and I’m already booked in again for next time. If you’re reading this and you’ve lapsed from giving blood or have never given it then please let this spur you on. You never know who you might help. You may save a live, prolong a life or improve a life. What a gift!

Pigeon Hole Positivity #18

Tomorrow I plan to deposit chocolate gifts and notes of appreciation in my colleagues’ pigeon holes at work. This poses a big risk in being “discovered” but I’m hoping that those on the receiving end appreciate the anonymity of our kindness campaign if they do figure it out!  The people I’ve chosen to be on the receiving end of this RAK are not those I work particularly closely with on a day to day basis. Instead, they are people who are always positive. Their smiles are genuine, their “how are yous” real and far from a formality.

Every single one of them has, at some point, made me think “s/he is a really nice person” and I want to show my appreciation. Work places need people like you!

So, to those on the receiving end, THANK YOU for having a positive impact on my working life.

LoveJoinMe

Two RAKs in one day! #12 #13

Today I had to meet a friend at the train station and as littlest LoveJoinMe was taking a nap I planned my two RAKs.  I had thought of doing them a long time ago, right at the beginning of our RAK journey but had never had the time to plan them before a visit to the station.

The first RAK was £2 left on the ticket machine to go towards a train ticket, the second was £2 left on the vending machine for a drink or snack.

It was quite a challenge waiting for the upstairs foyer to be completely empty before sticking the envelopes to the screens as it was a busy lunch time but I managed to be very discreet and didn’t get seen!

Five minutes later, after meeting my friend, both envelopes were gone!

Whoever you are, I hope it brightened your day!

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Blue Monday no more

It was all over social media this morning how today is Blue Monday – the most depressing day of the year apparently.

I started the day with a mission to make it not so! Firstly, I tweeted a national petrol station about the excellent service I’d received last night in the hope that the message  gets passed on. Secondly, I took part in a Pay It Forward scheme at a local food outlet and bought soup and bread for a homeless person.

I hope these two acts brighten someone else’s day!

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#ljm #lovejoinme #rak11

Rak #7 Free Rice

I often work through lunch but decided that today, while eating my lunch I would look for a Random Act of Kindness I could do online.  I stumbled upon the website www.freerice.com, which is a non-profit website run by the United Nations World Food programme.  If you like doing quizzes on all sorts of topics, or if you’re a student who needs to revise something specific you can do so on this website AND give free rice to someone in desperate need of food.  For every question you get correct they donate 10 grains of rice and in just a few minutes of quizzing I have earned 1110 grains of rice for someone hungry! I plan on adding to this total whenever I have a few spare minutes or just need a breather from a piece of work.

Number three is for Syria

The blog post is a little late in coming due to LoveJoinMe being busy! This one is for Syria.  I’m sure a lot of you struggle to look at the news pictures and not feel moved at the moment.   The picture that seemed to change things for a lot of people was the picture of the little boy washed up on the Turkish beach.  One of LoveJoinMe has been to that beach, the other has a three year old who looks remarkably similar to the little Aylan Kurdi.  The image sat with me for a long time and so we decided to make a donation to Save The Children in the hope that it may help in some small way. Save the Children were running the hashtag #itcouldhavebeenme and, looking at the picture of Aylan from one angle, it certainly could have been my son.

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Love Join Me

When you lose someone you love you spend time thinking about who they were as a person: thoughtful, kind, selfless perhaps.  That’s what she was.  Love Join Me continues with that modus operandi: to pass on kindness and love to others. Like the light of a star shines bright for millennia after its death, kindness can persist through the selfless acts that we undertake in memory of her.

Love Join Me is born.  The timing is significant, as will be revealed in due course.  Perhaps you have found this blog because you have been on the receiving end of one of our Random Acts of Kindness.  If so, please tweet us @lovejoinme60 or comment if you see your RAK in a post here.  But, most importantly, pass on the kindness (and the hashtag! #lovejoinme #ljm)

Love! Join Me.