Brightening the world one smile, one kind word,
one blog post at a time
Too often kindness is relegated to a random act performed only when we’re feeling good. But an even greater kindness (to ourselves and others) occurs when we reach out even when we aren’t feeling entirely whole. It’s not easy, and no one is perfect. But we’ve decided it’s not impossible to brighten the world one smile, one kind word, one blog post at a time. To that end, a few of us writers have established The Kindness Project, posting the second Wednesday of every month.
Want to join us? Grab our button and spread a little kindness.
She even made my horrendously difficult decision to move her only two grandchildren halfway round the world as easy as she possibly could, while still letting me know how much she didn't want us to go and how much she loved us and would miss us. She has been not just a mother, but a sister, a friend, a bank, an ironing lady, a cleaner, a babysitter, and someone to have a bloody good laugh with down the pub. I could go on and on, but I already have tears in my eyes and the screen's a bit blurry.
(Sniff. Blow nose. Wipe eyes. Deep breath.)
She is also brave and courageous and adventurous. She went skiing for the first time in her 40's when she was terrified and returned triumphant but black and blue - literally - I have never seen bruises like it. She learned how to windsurf and waterski, even though she hated every moment. She drives like a bat out of hell (and yes, Mum, I know you're an Advanced Driver) in a sporty car that is totally impractical for driving narrow, windy country roads and parking in tiny spaces, but she doesn't want to swap it in for something more sensible as that would make her feel 'old' (she's 76!).
She decided to learn to fly and got her private pilot's license at the age of 50 (I know, how incredible is that? She used to have to lock herself in the loo to get some peace to study indecipherable diagrams for the extremely complicated navigation test).
But aside from all the fun stuff, she has also spent so much of her life helping others, with kindness and extreme generosity. In particular, she is a very active member of various charities that help disabled people learn how to fly. I can't remember all their correct names but I'm sure Flying for the Disabled is one. Anyway, their names are unimportant. What is important is how she looks after all the incredibly courageous disabled people who put their sometimes life-threatening ailments to one side in order to follow their passion to fly. She follows them as they take their massively difficult written tests; is there when they are helped into the small aeroplane to take their first flight with an instructor; celebrates with them if they actually pass their private pilot's license and is there to witness and cheer them on their first solo flight.
She doesn't stop there, either. She writes to them, thanks them, phones them, makes them laugh as they endure another horrific series of operations, organises nicer Bed & Breakfast places to stay or even offers them her spare bed, meets them for lunch, gets them better jobs, emails them and generally is like a second Mum. She does all this for free. She doesn't get one penny, just the undying adoration of all her 'pupils'.
I try to practice kindness every day. And fail. Often. I don't know how she does it all the time, often with complete strangers, but she is my hero and a tough act to follow.
I miss her like crazy.
Every. Single. Day.
Who's your kindness hero?