celebrate kindness

Posts Tagged ‘Sandy Hook Elementary

Today, December 14, 2013, marks the one year anniversary of the terrible tragedy that took the lives of 26 students and teachers at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut.  Like so many people in our nation, my heart grieved with a heaviness I could hardly bear.  I felt compelled to do something, anything, to overcome the shock and sadness of that day.

That began my journey of completing 26 Acts of Kindness, one act for each life lost.  Below are my stories.  For those that followed me every step of the way – thank you.  Your support for my passion of kindness is overwhelming and humbling.  Today in memory of that day, please consider doing one simple act of kindness for someone else… and let me know what you did!  🙂

26 Acts of Kindness

Act 1 – In Memory of Noah Pozner, age 6

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/new-beginnings-act-1/

Photo Jan 06, 12 23 56 PM

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Act 2 – In Memory of James Mattioli, age 6

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/new-beginnings-act-2/

RAK2-1

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Act 3 – In Memory of Lauren Rousseau, age 6

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/01/26/new-beginnings-act-3/

IMG_4609

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Act 4 – In Memory of Caroline Previdi, age 6

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/02/16/new-beginnings-act-4/

KK-tamwithdonuts

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Act 5 – In Memory of Charlotte Bacon, age 6

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/03/05/new-beginnings-act-5/

CC-token4princess

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Act 6 – In Memory of Dawn Hocksprung, age 47

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/03/31/random-act-of-kindness-6-suspended-coffee-26acts/

coffee collage

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Act 7 – In Memory of Emilie Parker, age 6

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/04/18/random-act-of-kindness-7-of-26acts/

books

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Act 8 – In Memory of Dylan Hockley, age 6

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/05/03/random-act-of-kindness-8-of-26acts/

subway1

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Act 9 – In Memory of Mary Sherlach, age 56

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/random-act-of-kindness-9-of-26acts/

purse

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Act 10 – In Memory of Victoria Soto, age 27

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/05/11/random-act-of-kindness-10-of-26acts/

coffee money

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Act 11 – In Memory of Anne Marie Murphy, age 52

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/05/12/random-act-of-kindness-11-of-26acts-happy-mothers-day/

fridays-card1

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Act 12 – In Memory of Madeleine Hsu, age 6

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/05/22/random-act-of-kindness-12-of-26acts/

lady2

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Act 13 – In Memory of Allison Wyatt, age 6

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/05/24/random-act-of-kindness-13-of-26acts-flowers-and-babies/

recitalflowers

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Act 14 – In Memory of Jessica Rekos, age 6

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/05/31/random-act-of-kindness-14-a-heart-for-oklahoma/

girls

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Act 15 – In Memory of Daniel Barden, age 7

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/06/02/random-act-of-kindness-15-of-26acts-blessing-others-in-despair/

IMG_8960

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Act 16 – In Memory of Rachel D’Avino, age 29

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/06/21/random-act-of-kindness-16-discounts-for-diners/

coupon

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Act 17 – In Memory of Jesse Lewis, age 6

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/06/29/random-act-of-kindness-17-of-26acts/

BG-note

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Act 18 – In Memory of Jack Pinto, age 6

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/07/06/random-act-of-kindness-18-of-26acts-a-heart-for-adoption/

RAK-Adoption Logo

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Act 19 – In Memory of Benjamin Wheeler, age 6

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/07/09/random-act-of-kindness-19-of-26acts-bubbles-and-glo-sticks/

IMG_9970

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Act 20 – In Memory of Olivia Engel, age 6

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/07/28/random-act-of-kindness-20-vacation-adventures/

RAK tix

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Act 21 – In Memory of Grace McDonnell, age 7

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/08/13/random-act-of-kindness-21-of-26acts-jellyfish-vinegar-and-sharpies/

beach-seagull

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Act 22 – In Memory of Catherine Hubbard, age 6

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/08/18/random-act-of-kindness-22-of-26acts-kindness-to-animals/

animals-hand

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Act 23 – In Memory of Avielle Richman, age 6

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/10/01/random-act-of-kindness-41st-birthday-at-starbucks/

bdaybarista

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Act 24 – In Memory of Ana Marquez-Greene, age 6

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/10/13/random-act-of-kindness-24-of-26acts-sharing-pics/

IMG_4069

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Act 25 – In Memory of Josephine Gay, age 7

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/11/07/random-act-of-kindness-25-of-26-acts-birthday-joy/

photo 5

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Act 26 – In Memory of Chase Kowalski, age 7

https://celebratekindness.wordpress.com/2013/11/10/random-act-of-kindness-26-of-26acts-give-and-it-will-be-given/

photo 4

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Where do I even begin?

I have tried to write this post several times over the past 72 hours to no avail. It seems with each RAK I complete, more madness, more sadness enters this world. I find it very difficult to share the simplest of blessings, overwhelmed by the grief of tragedy and loss. On Sunday, I completed RAK #12 of #26 acts. Nothing big, just a little show of kindness that blessed a stranger. On Monday I heard about the devastating tornado in Oklahoma that obliterated an entire town, including an elementary school. How could I possibly write about my RAK… something so basic, so “no big deal” in the face of such destruction and shock?

On Tuesday I received a post notification written by the husband of a sweet friend of mine, detailing the impending passing of his wife from this life to the next. Mel, just a few years older than me, was diagnosed with Stage 4 stomach cancer eight months ago, the same month I underwent testing for breast cancer. Today she passed away.

Why? How? Why? The questions circle in an everlasting turnabout, stuck in my mind. Why do bad things have to happen? How can anything I do possibly make a difference? Why would anyone want to take the time to read my little RAKs when there are so many other things to ponder in this world?

And yet RAKs do make a difference. And you do read my posts. Maybe because we know there is no answer to question number one.

It’s funny in a way how God speaks to me sometimes. Maybe you are not a believer in God, but I am. I hear his voice on my heart in the most unassuming situations. Right before learning about the tornados on Monday, I discovered this video on You Tube. (You can skip through the commercial in the beginning after a few seconds). I held it together until I realized it was all focused in a hospital and that’s where my dying friend was spending her final hours. When the words “Just signed DNR” appeared on the screen, I was done. I couldn’t hold back the tears any longer. Then later that night, I heard about the tornado. More tears.

This morning, after reading about my friend’s passing, I saw this quote in my FB newsfeed:

quote

I had to laugh. It is EXACTLY how I would expect Mel to respond had I made the statement to her. Kindness is ALWAYS a big deal!! No matter how small it may seem in your eyes, it’s a big deal to someone else. I like to think it’s a big deal to God, too. Aren’t we commanded to love our neighbors as ourselves?

So that realization is what has pulled me out of my blog post slump. Kindness matters.

Random Act of Kindness #12 is a simple act, completely random, and nothing more than being kind to a stranger. We were eating at a serve-yourself style pizza restaurant following my daughter’s dance recital. As I was making my salad, I noticed an eldery woman with beautiful white hair and cane pushing her tray near mine. She was moving slowly, carefully, but despite her best intentions, the tray wobbled and her empty water cup fell right into the heap of spaghetti sauce she had placed on her spaghetti. Without a moment’s hesitation, I reached over and grabbed the cup off her tray. “Let me clean this off for you!” I walked away towards the drink counter to grab some napkins when another simple thought spoke to my heart. “Fill her cup.” I returned to the lady with her now cleaned cup, but instead of placing it on her tray, I asked what kind of drink she wanted. “I will fill it for you!” She smiled and spoke gently, “Water, please.”

lady

When I returned to her in the line, she was struggling to balance her cane and her tray while reaching across to maneuver a slice of pizza off the counter. Glancing down, I realized she never grabbed an empty plate! (The plate on her tray was completely filled with spaghetti and sauce.) Instinctively I ran to the end of the line, grabbed a plate and placed it right underneath the gooey pizza, mere moments before it slid off the unbalanced spatula. “Oh my! I didn’t even think about a plate!” she exclaimed as I breathed as sigh of relief. (THAT could have been a mess!)

I laughed a little, then grabbed her tray. “Do you want more pizza or are you ready to sit? I can carry your tray for you!” She was completely shocked, taking several seconds to process what I had just asked. “Are you sure you don’t mind? That’s very kind of you.” She pointed to the table where her family was sitting and I walked with her as she hobbled with her cane. “Thank you! Thank you so much! So sweet.” (Below is a photo I took of her at her table a little bit later.)

lady2

As I turned to make my way back to the salad bar (I had simply left my salad plate right there in the line, lol), I caught the eye of my daughter who had witnessed the entire event. In the brief moment of connection, her smile was simply an extension of my own, radiating the joy of simple kindness.

This RAK is dedicated to Madeleine Hsu, age 6, who like my daughter was “a shy little girl who always seemed to have a smile on her face.” My dear friend Mel had a smile that radiated, too. I hope Madeleine’s family can find comfort in knowing that even the smallest acts of kindness are being done in her memory.

Share the gift of love with others. Our time here is brief, dear friends, but we truly can make a difference.


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