Saturday, August 23, 2014

45 Random Acts of Kindness

45 years ago today ... it was hot and sticky in southeastern Michigan. I recall picking up our wedding cake from the neighbor who baked it (with my hair in those pink spongy curlers) and placing the cake in the trunk of my car to deliver to the church. No big reception for us (no $$) so we were just using the church hall to have some cake and open gifts after the ceremony. The rain didn't arrive until during the ceremony, and that just made the sanctuary even more humid. Perspiration dripped from my guy's face ... humidity or nerves?  Probably both. It was a whirlwind romance that neither of us could have ever predicted. "Where it began, I can't begin to know when ... but then I know it's growing strong. Was in the spring, then spring became the summer. Who'd have believed you'd come along."

It was the summer of '69.  I was just 18, Vern was 28. He had been one of my high school teachers, but there was no hint of what was to come until after I graduated. Our first date was June 8th, we were engaged on July 8th and married on August 23rd. That speedy time frame didn't seem out of the ordinary to us at all. We just knew that we were meant to be. And we were.

I was blessed to spend 41 years with Vern. Truly blessed that he chose me. And blessed that I was able to care for him and hold him as he took his last breath. I spent our 42nd anniversary alone here in our house; I was at Brave Girl Camp in Idaho on our 43rd; and last year I drove his Mustang up to Mt. Charleston and had a special hummingbird visit.

This year I ventured over to St. Rose Siena Hospital ... yes, the hospital Vern spent many, many, many weeks in during that long, hard cancer battle. I haven't been back there since that last time in September 2010 .... but it felt like that was the place I needed to do my 45 random acts of kindness in honor of Vern and our wedding anniversary. I know what it's like to pull into that parking lot and fear what is to come. I know what it's like to sit in the ER waiting and waiting and waiting. I know what it's like to watch that poisonous chemo being infused into the man I loved. And I know what it's like to feel alone, to feel that no one cares or understands just how horribly hard it is to put one foot in front of the other as we watch our loved one suffer. So I wanted to do just a little something to help some unknown people perhaps traveling that same road ... to let them know they are not alone and they are loved.

So I prepared the cards, added some cash or gift cards to the envelopes,bought flowers and balloons and helium. And off Jer and I went. First stop was to pick up 6 dozen Krispy Kremes, and then off to St. Rose. 

Cards attached to bags filled with surprises.

What an amazing morning. There have been some major changes at the hospital, lots of construction (finally a parking garage is being built!). We found our way into the ER waiting room and made some staff extremely happy with the hot Krispy Kremes. I explained why we were doing this and they were surprised and so appreciative. We then headed up to the 3rd floor - that's where we spent a lot of time as it was the chemo and surgical floor. More donuts for the staff. And I gave the gift cards to the charge nurse to give out to those who really need them. Jer and I then headed down the hall and gave out flower bouquets to the patients. Oh my - this was extra, extra special and something I will do regularly. We met a couple who had just celebrated their 55th wedding anniversary and a woman who had just celebrated her 45th anniversary in the hospital - and a lovely Iranian woman who was overwhelmed with our gift and kept shouting to God to bless us. Patients and staff were so surprised at our generosity - and so very thankful. Then we were off to the parking lot to fill up balloons with helium and attach a card with some cash in it to 20 cars. We chose to place them on the cars in the ER parking spaces and were paid a visit by a Security guard. When I explained what we were doing he was rather impressed and gave us the ok to continue.  

The back of my car filled with goodies.

The ER parking lot
I don't like to honor the day Vern died ... that is a day for private reflection for me. But this ... oh yes, this is something I will do again and again. On our wedding anniversary, on his birthday ... and I'm thinking once a month 'just because'. 

I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something I can do.   Edward Everett Hale 

I expect to pass through this world but once; any good thing therefore that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now; let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again. 
Stephen Grellet  


Anonymous said...

This is so beautiful and what a wonderful idea! I'm going to remember it.

Stephanie Calmy said...

Beautiful Dianne just beautiful.

Janice said...

beautifully thought out and beautifully done, dianne. i'm so glad your son was there with you. that made it perfect. what a wonderful tribute to your marriage. i can just see you, typing furiously as soon as you got back home so you could document what it felt like before it faded. i feel like i was there with you.

tccomments2013 said...

wonderful, uplifting, kind, generous and so very glad that you and jer got to be together to make it so special. xoxo

Kerrie said...

You are amazing Diane! I moved back to my hometown a year ago and am so happy here with church, friends and relatives. I had 52 yrs. with my Bill before he passed January 2012. Against all odds and at my age, I fell in love again!! God is so good and I am no longer lonely. Not a marriage but a relationship to treasure. There could never be another Bill.....or Vern Luvu, Kerrie

Anonymous said...

That is so wonderful. Next January will be our 40th (we only made it to 39) and I want to do something like that.

Jennifer said...

this is beautiful and brought be to the happiest of tears. I lost my mom two months ago to cancer and your words brought me back to the hospital she was in, the room she stayed, the nurses who were there. What a lovely gesture. I know how much something like this must have meant to those you met with. Your post has inspired me! Thank you for sharing your great big heart with so many. It is needed in this world.