A Random Act of Kindness
I think everyone at some point needs a random act of kindness, in our lives. Whether it’s a compliment on how good supper was, that an outfit looks good on you that day, or perhaps someone holding the door for you when your arms are full of groceries, it’s nice to have someone do something unexpected and appreciated.
Even the most heart-hardened of folks feel that accelerated thump, thump, thump heartbeat like the Grinch on Christmas morning, listening to all of Whoville sing their Christmas song, when someone for no apparent reason goes out of their way to do something extraordinary for them.
Such is the case with a dear friend of mine, Michelle who recently did something so wonderful and unexpected, it’s taken time for me to properly articulate what this means to me.
Now Dear Reader for some context. I share with you something that occurred to me many years ago that I typically hold very close to the chest.
In late 1992, I said both hello and goodbye to my second son, Andrew Amador. Three days after Christmas that year, Andrew unexpectedly passed away from SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome). He was just barely over three months old. His passing forever and drastically changed who I was, my outlook on religion, relationships, and most of all – my life, in general. This was the most tragic loss a parent could ever experience. We’re not supposed to bury our children.
I submit to you Dear Reader, that grief may quite possibly be the most personal and individual emotion we experience in life. One may be able to say they UNDERSTAND how you might feel grieving the loss of a loved one – because at some time or another we either have or will lose someone we love – but that person or persons will never KNOW what you feel because they would experience the same situation very, very differently. There is nothing wrong with this. In fact, I feel in some way it defines who we are and from that point in life who we choose to be, going forward.
For years after his passing I questioned my own humanity and my reasons for living. The answer after time clearly became my living children. Time had passed and now I had three healthy wonderful sons to raise. It took a significant number of years for me to realize that life does not live in a grave. Life lives above ground, watching little league games in the late afternoon sunshine or coaching their soccer team. Life exists when you build a Pinewood Derby car with your sons, or sit with them on the floor trying to master an X-Box controller. Sometimes it’s just bringing them a glass of water before bedtime and making up funny voices. Other times it’s cooking their favorite food on their birthday.
Life lives above ground.
Thus far 2017 has been somewhat of a rough year; from the sudden passing of a much-loved cousin not yet even 40 years old to tearing up my right knee and requiring painful injections as well as physical therapy. I have however managed to write a couple of new songs and do quite a bit of woodworking in the Gecko Shop. My wife Alycia and I also bought a home. So things are somewhat balanced I suppose. But back in April I sure needed an emotional pick-me-up. And I don’t mean Scotch.
Enter Michelle, who unknown to me had been working on something that would take me totally by surprise. She and I met a little over 3 years ago working for the same employer on the same customer account. We became friends on social media and after some time, I confided in her what happened to my son, Andrew. As I mentioned earlier I don’t bring this topic up to just anyone because in all honesty, it makes most people uncomfortable and it’s something – as you can surmise – very personal to me. To be fair, people just don’t know what to say so it’s best to just not bring it up.
This past April I received an IM on Facebook from Michelle that just floored me. She had donated her wedding dress to an organization called Threads of Hope. What they do is take donated wedding dresses and make Angel gowns, wraps and bonnets and provide them – free of charge – to families of babies 20 – 32 weeks that have died. This effort is fully funded via donations and the gowns made by hand by a small band of volunteers.
With Micelle’s dress, Threads of Hope was able to make 10 Angel Gowns and donate them in the names of children that had long since passed away – one of them was my Andrew.
Given what 2017 had already dished out to my wife Alycia and myself, this was indeed a breath of fresh air. As I looked at the photos on Facebook of the outfits that were made and the memories of the children they were dedicated to, I could only sit in my chair agape at this wonderful thing that had – for all intents and purposes – blindsided me. But in a most unexpected and delightful way.
I’ve included several of the Facebook posts and photos with this article. I hope you enjoy looking at them as much I do. It’s things such as this that humans do for each other that should give us hope and encourage us to reciprocate.
There are over 7 billion people on this planet. The average number of people we will meet in our lifetime is about 10,000. Of those 10,000, the average number of close acquaintances we’ll have in that same lifetime is around 600 people.
It only takes one of them, one time, one unselfish and random act of kindness to make us feel like the most important person in the universe.
https://www.facebook.com/groups/1287042144647148/ (Threads of Hope Angel Gown Forum)