100 Days, 100 Kindnesses

For my 100th kindness I wanted to do something really meaningful, something I had never done before and something that would take me totally outside my comfort zone. Wanting to take part in the 100th Day of Kindness challenge, my Mum volunteered to help me with my act of kindness for the day. After much discussion and some dead-end ideas, I stopped for a moment and really thought about it. I know that the best kindnesses come naturally, and you just have to trust your instincts. The idea that has kept coming back to me this week whenever I think of people in need of kindness was the hospital. And since I had promised myself (and all of you) that I would give away flowers on my 100th day, I decided we should find a patient who didn’t get many visitors and would really appreciate a bunch of flowers. This was a big ask. I had no idea how we would go about this, but I told myself if it was the right kindness it would all happen fairly easily. And it did.

Mum called a friend of hers who works in a nearby hospital and explained the whole crazy 100 Days of a Year of Kindness situation (that would have been an interesting conversation). And almost immediately she gave us the name and room number of a lady who got hardly any visitors. Strangely enough, she was in the same ward as my beautiful Grandmother had been in before she died, just down the hall in fact. I decided this was a good sign. We arrived at the hospital, flowers in hand, and explained to the nurses what we wanted to do. As we walked to her room I asked Mum if she felt nervous, she insisted she did not but then promptly told me, “You do the talking, I don’t know what to say.”

We stepped inside and I introduced us and explained our mission, and so it was that I came to spend an hour with one of the most lovely, positive, warm-hearted people I’ve ever met. Someone that instantly reminded me of my own grandmother, whose generosity and love instilled in me the value of being compassionate and kind. I knew instantly that my instincts had been right on this one. And she certainly was incredibly grateful and deserving of kindness. She told us she did not get many visitors because her family lived far away and “at my age, you don’t have many friends left anymore”. Although she was a regular at the hospital and often stayed for periods of up to two months, she had never (never!) recieved a bunch of flowers. She told us that every day the hospital flower lady came around and every day she had to tell her there were no flowers for her to put in a vase – “Until today! Today she will come in and I can say, surprise, yes I do have some!”

She was extremely interested in my kindness project (or what she called “Make a wish come true project”), and wholeheartedly agreed that everyone needed a little more kindness in their life. She told us about her children and grandchildren and about living through a war and a depression. We learned that she was in extreme pain most of the time and found it hard to walk. She had experienced a lot of sadness in her life, but whenever the conversation veered too much to the negative she would bring it back to the flowers, about how she just couldn’t believe it, she was just so delighted, it was the best surprise she’d ever had and she would remember it forever.

I tried to explain to her that I was incredibly grateful to have met her, that I too would remember her always, that her story and her positivity despite all odds resonated far deeper than could be explained. I think she thought I was just being nice, but it is all true. And I didn’t say it at the time but I would like to visit her again, to talk to her more about her life over a cup of tea and her favourite pecan pie. I hope I can make that happen.

As we left the hospital I thought of the homeless man I had spoken to last week, and the lonely lady I met the other day. Despite their differences, they all wanted the same thing: to feel listened to and validated. It’s not about the flowers, or the sandwich, or the compliment, it’s just about listening and caring, and thats something we can all do.

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27 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. happydancecat
    Jul 14, 2011 @ 18:50:44

    You have made your mother very proud – it was a truly inspirational event!

    Helenm

    Reply

  2. Kristin Hernandez
    Jul 14, 2011 @ 19:10:33

    tender! 🙂

    Reply

  3. daniellesan
    Jul 14, 2011 @ 23:26:02

    So true, what you shared with us. Too many people are empty of kindness. But we try keeping this value the most as we can.

    Reply

    • happydancecat
      Jul 15, 2011 @ 21:41:03

      Yes, it’s hard to think about the people who have no kindness in their lives, daniellesan. But it helps to know that we can create more kindness anytime, anywhere!

      Reply

  4. Jaclyn Rae
    Jul 15, 2011 @ 02:54:08

    You’ve brought tears to my eyes! I volunteer at a hospital and know what a lonely place it can be for people without families… What a blessing you were to that woman! You’ve inspired me to do a random act of kindness like this.

    Your light shines so brightly. Thank you for scattering sunshine. ❤

    Reply

  5. imogen.ius
    Jul 15, 2011 @ 04:18:20

    i have read all 100 kindnesses, and cried so heartfelt at each. your humanity is a glimpse in what all “artists” want to reveal. you are an artist of love and your love will now be reciprocated. My students will now also be participating in 100 acts of kindess, thank you for your gift.

    Reply

  6. Lexy Raine
    Jul 15, 2011 @ 06:34:42

    Ok, get out the Kleenex because the tears are coming! That was such a wonderful thing you did! I’m sure that woman was very grateful to have you take the time to visit with her but your kindness is two-fold because I am also so very grateful to have your blog to come to when I need some inspiration. Keep up the great work!!!!

    Reply

    • happydancecat
      Jul 15, 2011 @ 21:51:58

      Thankyou, Lexy. 🙂 I was pretty grateful to her too, it was an amazing experience all round. I couldn’t have asked for a more perfect kindness for number 100.

      Reply

  7. Eluria Obscura
    Jul 15, 2011 @ 10:54:42

    You made me cry. I think what you are doing is beautiful and I wish everyone would take a page out of your book. ❤

    Reply

  8. Carly
    Jul 15, 2011 @ 11:04:49

    This post brought tears to my eyes! Which is a bit awkward at work…haha. Thank you for sharing this Cat 🙂 It’s amazing how such a simple act of kindness can make such a difference in someone’s life – including that of the ‘kindness-giver’ 🙂

    Reply

  9. politeandparanoid
    Jul 15, 2011 @ 11:47:30

    I think it is so wonderful that you visited someone in the hospital!! My Grandmother had Alzheimer’s and I always felt sorry for the other people there. We were usually the only visitors there, but we tried to talk to all the people.

    I participated in the 100th Day of Kindness and talked about it on my blog:
    http://wp.me/p12zEp-4b

    Reply

    • happydancecat
      Jul 15, 2011 @ 22:07:50

      Yes, the hospital was a kindness first for me but it definitely won’t be a last.

      Your kindnesses were fantastic! Really brought a smile to my face reading about them. Thankyou for spreading a little kindness in your part of the world!

      Reply

  10. Aly
    Jul 15, 2011 @ 19:47:07

    That’s awesome. I know that hospitals can be a lonely place. My mum and Dad have spent a lot of time in them over my life and to think of them having to face never having visitors breaks my heart.they are lucky as they are always bombarded with visitors…but there are people out there who don’t have family in their life or friends. I find older people amazing and what they have to say captivates me. My nana was an amazing woman who has inspired me to be friends with people of all ages.They just have insight and input that people of today seem to lack or have lost touch with. Love it!

    Reply

    • happydancecat
      Jul 15, 2011 @ 22:13:23

      Very true, Aly. Hospitals aren’t the nicest of places at the best of times, let alone when you have no one to visit you. The older generations are incredible because they ask so little and yet are willing to give so much. So many people my age have been totally suspicious of my kindness and completely baffled when I tried to explain the reasons why I am doing it, but the older generations are far more accepting and understand completely the reasons why one would want to put more positivity into the world. There is SO much we can learn from the very old and the very young.

      Reply

  11. LizG
    Jul 19, 2011 @ 07:58:09

    Talking about what really matters… God bless you forever and always! Now, as I said, I also did my little act of kindness for the day. It was while I was riding on the bus, a man got on the bus to offer some kind of product he was selling (very usual in this country), and the lady sitting next to me starting talking about how the product didn’t work and etc. After that, a lady got on the bus to ask for financial help for a daughter of hers who was sick, she was selling keyrings to help with the cost of medicine and stuff, and the lady next to me started talking about what a sin it was to use a child and lying like that and all that, and it was then that I felt it. I bought two keyrings, one for the lady, and one for me (to remind me of that day – plus, I also needed a keyring 🙂 ). I gave one to her and said, ‘this is for you’, with a smile. She just stared at me and said, “but, this is… this… oh… thank you”, to which I replied, “it might come in handy someday”. Oh-my-God, my legs were shaking! I mean, I was sitting down, but I could still feel them shaking, and I could also feel hot blood stream through my body… I never thought it would take so much courage! But it did, and I did it, and a lady’s day was less bitter because of all the inspiration you give… so don’t you EVER get to thinking you’re not generating any changes, because ohh, you ARE! OK? Blessings! And THANK YOU again! ❤

    Reply

    • happydancecat
      Jul 19, 2011 @ 22:47:16

      Wow, that’s fantastic, Liz, good on you! Not only did you brighten one persons day by helping them out, you challenged someone’s negative perspective of the world in the process. I sometimes think that when people are totally closed-off and angry its not possible to change the way they think, but it seems like you may have really gotten through to that lady. It took a LOT of courage to stand up for your principals in that situation. You are very inspiring yourself! It’s crazy that being kind should be so scary sometimes, but it is. In a way it makes it even more rewarding, because we see how even the smallest kind acts can have a big impact. Thankyou so much for sharing your story. I’m amazed at all the courageous kindness crusaders out there all over the world.

      Reply

  12. Juliana
    Jul 20, 2011 @ 03:22:44

    Oh my goodness. You’re making me cry. What a great idea for an act of kindness.

    Reply

  13. changingmoods
    Jul 20, 2011 @ 13:26:19

    Aw, what a sweet and touching story. You truly made that woman’s day, as well as mine.

    Reply

  14. Trackback: Is This Progress? « yearofkindness

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