The other day, after I shared a story about my mom on Facebook there was a short discussion of seniors. Brigid Mclinden Duffy shared some of her experiences and thoughts on kindness toward and appreciation of older adults. I thought it was so touching that I wanted to share her words. I hope they inspire you too to think about how your actions can brighten someone else’s day.
In her own words…
“I told a very elderly man in church today that he has a wonderful smile! You would have thought I gave him $1000 dollars. He was tickled and his shoulders pulled up out of their slouch, he stood a little more erect and it almost looked like he was a little younger all of a sudden!! But besides caring, kind words, we must not forget the gift of touch! Some go years after the death of a spouse or friend, never feeling a hug, a gentle kiss on the check or a nice back rub! Yet who of us would want to end up never experiencing the kindness of a hand on ours, the gentle tickle of a kiss on the cheek or the back of our neck, the warmth and soothing feel of someone’s head on your shoulder?
Another perspective . . .
When I am walking into a store or church and an elderly person is moving slowly they often say oh go ahead around me. Well I don’t. I tell them they are giving me the gift of time, calmness and relaxing. And I thank them. I feel this takes away the sense of feeling a bother and gives them a sense of being able to do or give back to another. We each gave gifts to share. The bright side is realizing and accepting the gift of another!
Our gifts of touch, smiles, time and even just a simple comment can help someone get through a very lonely day or difficult day!”
– Brigid McLinden Duffy
I love asking people questions about their lives. I often learn new reasons to empathize, respect, admire, and appreciate them.
Jodi Franks is one of them. I have known her for years…beginning from way back when, when she was a producer on Warm 98 (98.5 FM). We stay in touch a lot through Facebook and usually see each other at Broadway in Cincinnati shows. (I was even sitting next to her on the evening when this photo was taken.) Still, when I asked her about an act of kindness that changed her life, I wasn’t expecting what I heard.
Those beautiful girls who were sitting beside her (and me) that evening, have an incredible reason for which to celebrate being together. Through sadness and family hardship, Jodi taught them lessons in unconditional love. Before Daytona’s second birthday, she already experienced the loss of her mother and was uprooted to live with her grandparents. It was seven years later – after the death of her grandfather and the toll of dementia set in on her grandmother – that Jodi drove hundreds of miles to bring Daytona to Cincinnati to be part of Jodi’s family.
Please read Jodi’s story in her own words.
“On November 27th, 2006, my sister-in-law was involved in a fatal car accident. Both of my brothers were also in the car, and both were critically injured. Due to legal issues, custody of my niece was given to my elderly mother and father.
Daytona was just a little over a year old, and I tried to convince my mother and father that because of their age, it would be difficult to raise a child so young. My mother insisted that they were fine, but should there come a time when they could no longer care for her, she would make sure that custody passed to me.
Sadly, in June 2013, we lost our father, and due to several strokes, our mother’s dementia began to take its toll. By the end of August 2013, I took the long drive to central Kentucky and brought home a little girl who barely knew us. The first year was hard for everyone. My daughter had to learn to share her things, her room, and her parents. Day had to learn how to grieve for not only the loss of her beloved grandfather, she had to deal with being separated from her granny who was the only mother figure she had, and move 300 miles away from the only life she had ever known.
Day is stoic and brave. She’s also wonderfully creative and funny. She completes our little family.
It’s been my honor to fulfill my mother’s wishes. I’m also eternally grateful for the gift I was given, another child that I desperately wanted.”
Something to give you thought: If your neighbor had an accident that caused her to be immobile, would you step up to help her out? Janet Nieheisel is a neighbor who did.
Facebook has given me the great pleasure of getting to know Susan Booth, a Northern Kentucky realtor with Coldwell Banker West Shell. She is someone with such a generous heart herself who gives of herself to help others, and who brightens my days with her comments. I wanted to learn about an experience when the tables were turned and she was on the recipient end of kindness. This is what she shared.
In her own words:
“I have had many acts of kindness over the years directed towards me. One in particular occurred in October 2012 through April or so, in 2013. In October I had severely broken my left leg in a horse incident in Lexington, Ky., which required surgery, and I really couldn’t walk (on crutches, walker, or any other device), for a good seven months. It was actually, not until late August of 2013, that I could sort of walk unaided without losing my balance, etc.
During this time period, a wonderful friend and neighbor (Janet Nieheisel), would call me every Friday late afternoon before she left work, to see if I needed anything from the grocery or whatever. She did this for me until, late April, when I could get around on crutches and a walker. She wouldn’t take no for an answer, and just wanted to make sure I was alright.
I had 3 dogs to take care of as well, and no invisible fence then, which made life interesting. I also had to hire a dog walker to come twice a day and take my doggies out.
Janet has since become a very good friend, and has gone on to become a nurse (master’s degree at Christ Hospital). She said it was from having to come here and assist me!!”
I have been sharing different perspectives on Kindness this week. Today I want to share the story of someone on the receiving end of kindness. Beth Crenshaw is vice chair of the Spina Bifida Coalition of Cincinnati, Inc., and she wants to remind us that kindness can have a great impact. In her words:
“I was in the hospital quite a bit last year due to medical problems. I have Spina Bifida. During my stay at the hospital, two friends came to visit me. One of them brought my fiancé, Chuck, BBQ for dinner. She brought so much that Chuck had BBQ for several nights in a row, when he left the hospital for the night.
After I left the hospital, I had follow up appointment with the two doctors that conducted the two surgeries. My friend picked me up at my home and took me to the doctors appointments.
My friends were the sunshine in my darkest hour. My friends are considerate, caring, and generous. In my opinion, this is the definition of kindness.”
LOCAL 12, WKRC-TV’s John R. Lomax is loved my Greater Cincinnati. He has such a benevolent heart. He is as genuine as they come. John shared with me his thoughts on #kindness.
“I believe kindness is knowing someone is in pain or distress, taking time to figure out what that pain or distress is, and doing what you can to lighten that darkness. Kindness is a gift, offered whether you know it will be accepted readily or rejected outright, given without expectation of recognition or reciprocation, or requiring some renaissance on the part of the recipient. Kindness, in my mind, is doing what we should as a thinking, feeling human being.”