February is the month when love is mentioned more than any other time of the year. These days, we are witnessing an abundance of friends and families who need to know how much we care. Their situations may not be the same, yet by reaching out to show our support and love, our efforts can be similar. Most importantly we are making all the difference in the world to them and to us.
Recently I had learned of a dear friend whose wife had been diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. As I thought about Nancy and Ken, I couldn’t imagine what they were going through. What if this devastating news was happening to me or someone in my family? I wasn’t sure quite what to do but was determined to do something.
At times like these a familiar phrase might be: “Call me if you need anything.” I’m sure most folks sincerely mean that but the truth is most recipients will not call. They are overwhelmed emotionally and physically and to ask them to do one more thing is just too much. They may also feel that it is an inconvenience to ask for help.
So how do we respond in times of crisis? In Nancy’s situation, I was able to find out some helpful information as what her favorite colors & flowers were, and what she could eat. In addition, I read some online articles from hospice and then the quest began.
Since it was autumn a soft cozy throw was delivered at the door along with a container of organic soup-enough for Nancy and her husband. Towards the end of the week, chap stick and a lime green shawl (one of her favorite colors) was dropped off. To keep Nancy’s feet nice and warm, a pair of slipper socks came in handy. Nancy was a gardener and loved flowers so picking up bouquets in the floral shop at our local grocery store was simple enough. They were wrapped beautifully at no extra charge, making the purchase even easier.
Being sensitive to their privacy, a short phone call was made ahead of time. “We have something here for Nancy, when would be a good time to drop it off?”
As this mission of love continued, I heard from Nancy and Ken. These little acts of kindness had brought them both joy, yet it did even more for me. Showing my love to someone in need took the focus off of myself while realizing that I’d never regret offering support.
How fortunate I was to have a Mom whose generous acts of kindness played over and over again when I was growing up. I thought it was the norm until I became an adult and realized what an exceptional person she was. Mom taught me to be there for others, even at a distance.
If you’re still not sure how to help, here are some great “Action VS Asking” Suggestions:
“I made dinner for your family, when can I drop it off?”
“I have some time this weekend, how can I support you?”
“You need rest. I’d love to take the kids outside to play while you nap.”
“I’m heading to the store, text me your list of what you need.”
We don’t have to avoid people for fear of not saying or doing the right thing. Just our willingness to be there and show support and love means so much to the recipient.
On February 17th, our country will be recognizing “Random Acts of Kindness Day” This is a perfect chance to do something nice for someone without spending a lot of time or money. Delivering a care package to an isolated senior in your neighborhood or sending a card to someone special is a great start. If you have children who love to draw-homemade cards will put a smile on anyone’s face!
It was January 26th, on her birthday when Nancy left peacefully from her home. Her favorite bloom was the sunflower. She enjoyed sitting underneath the shade of the tall stalks & bright yellow flowers while reading. Nancy had the ability to find joy in the simple things in life that sustained her to the end.
Recently I learned that the sunflower will start its track in the morning, facing the sun, and throughout the day will follow the distant beams across the sky until it receives the maximum light.
Like the sunflower, Nancy brought so much good to so many. Her radiant spirit and tremendous talents will continue to shine and influence others for years to come.
In Chapter 26 of “All That I Had,” you’ll find some of my favorite acts of kindness. They are ones I’ve loved & used for years. I hope you’ll enjoy them.
Thank you, dear friends, for taking the time to read my article. May you all continue to be safe and well.
Be sure to look out for each other!
With love, Kathy
*This blog has been dedicated to Nancy.
“Nancy Summers will long be remembered as an influential and talented musician who shaped the lives of thousands of students and brought great joy, love and light to the world.”