I just heard it is WORLD KINDNESS DAY. I once read you should write your obituary the way you'd like to be remembered and then live up to it. I’m sure we all have someone who pops into our minds as a very kind person whom we try to emulate. The first person who always pops into my mind is my aunt. Called ‘Aunty’ by her 14 nieces and nephews, and many more great nieces and nephews, she was known as ‘Honey’ to her siblings, friends and the entire town of Medford, and everyone who met her. Need I say more!
Aunty was the person who always found the good in EVERY person. I never heard her gossip or say a negative thing about anyone. It’s the little things. Teens in Medford would come and hang out with her, talking about their problems in her sitting room next to the kitchen. She would listen and encourage them. Every fall she would hire these teens to help print the envelopes and mail 40,000 desk calendars for the family business. No matter where she was she had friends from every generation, and truly loved being surrounded by youth.
At 19 years old Aunty was paralyzed in an automobile accident. Never did she ask ‘why me’. For years she lay in bed writing hundreds of letters each week to her penpals serving in WWII. When they returned she learned how to walk again with the paralyzed vets ‘swinging through’ her crutches. She became an accomplished artist, eventually got her driver’s license again, and after my grandfather passed away she bought a very worn summer cottage overlooking the Bay of Fundy and renovated it. For the next 35 years she drove to Nova Scotia each Fourth of July with my grandmother and any family member who wanted to join them. She would bake bread and cook over a wood burning stove, take the neighbor kids berry picking and make jams for the neighbors, painting the views with anyone who wanted to join her. Once again her kindness spread across the farms on the bluffs of Nova Scotia and townspeople looked forward to her summer arrival and warm smile. As kids, all of us nieces and nephews spent years in her kitchen over Holy Thursday and Good Friday kneading pounds and pounds of flour and helping to make the dozens of loaves of Italian Easter bread that she would gift to everyone. Aunty lived her entire life with her parents, and later in life the caregiving roles turned and she was there to care for my grandmother living with Alzheimers.
When we began to have children I knew I wanted to name one after her. I figured if my child was just 10% her they would be an incredibly kind person. I got my wish and our daughter is named after her. She sees the good in people others may not even notice. Who pops into your mind on World Kindness Day?
Organic gardener, whole-food, plant-based cook. Educator and advocate for healthy, toxin-free living. Wife and mom, sister and daughter. Service-minded Rotarian. Photographer. Storyteller.