Don’t let kindness be an act of the past!

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This blog is about general humanity, I’m going to write about a couple that I met at work, they were kind and friendly and the sort of couple that you don’t see enough of these days.

I work in sales within the Bathroom, Plumbing and Heating industry and this couple came into my place of work looking for help, guidance and assistance with general plumbing and DIY. They honestly brightened up my morning with their funny humour, oober kind nature and up-beat spirit, you couldn’t help but have an instant warming towards these two individuals. Knowing nothing of this couple before, I acted as I would with anyone, always mindful of my mantra ‘treat others the way you wish to be treated’ as I continued to help them, laugh with them, and talk with them, we were soon joined by other onlookers, whether it was just curiosity or just plain and simple nosiness, I am convinced that smiling, laughing and jovial behaviours create a curiosity within us all to seek out where this  fun is coming from, because within us is the desire to laugh and be cheerful and become part of the fun that’s happening!

Whilst in the company of these two very special people I had found out without questioning or without the stereo typical ‘sales interrogation’ that this couple were married, were pensioners, lived in a lovely house in a lovely part of town, and clearly still very much in love after years and years of marriage, they have three grandchildren and a family that from the outside looked pretty perfect.

I got talking to this lady that I found myself drawn to like she was some sort of fairy godmother, and our conversation evolved and we somehow got talking about deaths of my three children, my living children, and my life, she reciprocated by offering me an insight into her life too, she has three children, and sadly one of these children was born mentally disabled, he cannot talk, he is now 37 with the mental age of a child of 6. The around the clock care began to take its toll, so they made the difficult decision to have their son cared for in a care home, he has resided there for 3 years now and he comes home every weekend, this lovely lady explains that although every part of her loves and cherishes her son and she would not be without him for a single heartbeat, there is an emotion she deals with daily, everyday she grieves, grieves for what she dreamed of, grieves for the life her son has missed out on, because when she looks at her two other children, doing everyday ‘normal’ things (there’s that god damn word again…. Like saying normal sets some sort of benchmark for us all to adhere to), having babies, getting married, loving and being loved by someone special, driving cars and holding down jobs, these are all things us ‘normal’ people take for granted and these things are the sadness behind the eyes of this lovely lady as she looks at her 37 year old son and wishes he had the same chances at full life as her other children.

I had arranged to visit them in their home to try and help them further with their cloakroom requirements it was just a few simple measurements so just part and parcel of my job role. Clearly this retired couple were budgeting and were conscious of costs. I was compelled to help this couple because they were kind and because I want to treat other people with the same kindness and for the sake of sounding repetitive ‘treat others the way you wish to be treated’. I was welcomed like a family member, asked what I wanted to eat, how I like my tea, force fed biscuits and then ushered into a corner where we spoke about sly, underhand squirrels, and noisy, unwanted, dirty pigeons. I was in the company of this kind couple again and was smiling ear to ear as they told me stories from their past and showed me photographs of the family including the ‘little man’, the sweet name they affectionately call their 37 year old disabled son.

I made a quick phonecall to my husband, he is a plumber and has copious amounts of loose copper, fittings, and random pipes lurking in the garage, along with a few bikes, buckets with holes in, chemicals and liquids stored in various jars, possibly the cure for Ebola, and 101 paintbrushes that have hardened to beyond their original purpose and could now be used as hammers!

A few pictures sent from the smart phone and a big YES from the truly talented Mr Harris, and I have arranged for the sundry items to be delivered by myself on the Sunday in an attempt to help reduce the expense to remedy their long 2 year awaited cloakroom.

The moral of the story is not everyone lives a life of perfection, from the onset, we can all look like the Von Trapps’ or The Waltons’ but behind the walls of each home is a story, some are more fortunate than others, but some live with grief, some live with debt, and some live with treacherous squirrels and demonic pigeons but we all deserve to be treated with kindness and we all need to helped by other peoples humanity sometimes.

This couple showed me courage, humour and a togetherness that you don’t often see these days, and hopefully I showed them kindness and the help they needed and deserved.

I have since met ‘little man’ and he is a character to say the least, he is clearly loved and clearly happy, and I am happy to say that I am a friend to this lovely family.

Be kind when you can because you never know when you will need the kindness returned and lets face it you make a lot more friends on the way being kind!

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End of Chapter 2014

Good

It has been 3406 days that have passed since the day that changed me and my life forever, 756 days since that soul destroying day when tragedy struck again. 239 days since I began to glue my life back together, 203 days since I visited the graveside of my three boys, a place I still cannot bare, nor can I take comfort from. It has been 189 days since my final counselling sessions and 127 days since my last blog.

It has also been 231 days since Stephen Sutton passed away in his sleep after battling the horrific disease, Cancer. He is an inspirational young man who spoke, lived, and sadly died by the below quote…

“I don’t see the point in measuring life in terms of time. I’d rather measure life in terms of making a difference”

Stephen Sutton – http://www.stephensstory.co.uk/

This young man, heroic without knowing, made such an impact on so many people’s lives with his amazing up beat nature and constant positive attitude, and at 19 years young he touched the hearts of thousands, and the day he died, I shed tears for a young man that I had never met.

It is a heart-breaking, life changing misfortune that my twins ‘Louis and Corey’ lived and breathed, but never got to  live a life of achievements or create a lifeline of memories, it is unbelievably cruel and punishing to think that this disastrous event would happen again 7 years later.

The time elapsing between Louis Corey and Elliot’s births, deaths and today, after a low ebb where solace could only be found in the darkest depths of alcohol and drugs, a pitiful attempt to forget and to numb the pain of guilt, but after plenty of help, plenty of healing, plenty of support from good friends and family my life has found perspective, and some of us are given far shorter lives than others.

I mean; who are we to dictate how long we get to spend walking our paths on this earth?

Who knows when your time is up?

Who gets to say how much time should be spent with our loved ones, children, parents, friends and family alike?

One truly important thing I have realised through all this pain, and one thing I will try to continue to remember, is we shouldn’t dwell, or reside in a pit of bitterness, immersed in sorrow, engulfed with guilt, or whatever emotion is controlling your mind at the time of deep unhappiness. For these emotions consume so much of our negative energy it prevents us from being truly happy and stops us from properly “living”!

It isn’t what we are born with, nor is it what happens to you in life that determines your destiny, it is the choices that we make along the way, it is not our actions that define our person, but it’s how we recover from them.

Your past is part of your present and it shapes your future, it makes you, you! Life can be cruel and I have felt its brutal force, look at it as part of your adventure, that writes the book of your life, we all have a story to be told and the pages of our futures are unwritten, so fill them with memories of happiness, fill them with your story, the good the bad and the ugly but never forgetting that with every bad thing that happens, something good can be found if you look hard enough.

RIP Stephen Sutton, May you rest with the many other young and brave, whose lives have been stolen far too soon, you taught the whole world a valuable lesson.

RIP Louis, Corey, and Elliot Harris you taught me valuable lessons, how to be strong, and never give up, you taught me love like no other love, and you taught me forgiveness. I will for eternity wish that things were different, but I will always be grateful for having had you, held you and loved you and no matter how painful this journey has been, it will be one I will remember with bittersweet memories.

2015 is nearly here and I am looking forward to the future, this is my final post of 2014 and in simple terms When life gives you lemons, make lemonade” I encourage optimism and a can-do attitude in the face of adversity.

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Happy New Year.

My New Found Escape

Jogging

When times are hard and life gets you down it’s all to easy to become disheartened at the smallest of obstacles. Life becomes an everyday battle. An uphill struggle and you begin soul searching in attempt to remedy the hazy horizons before you.

People have often spoke about exercise to me and if I am honest I thought they were insane, what good can possibly come out of me exerting myself to within an inch of my life, breathing so hard I think I might die, getting so hot I might combust, working so hard every muscle feels its been pulled around the earths equator and released like a bungee rope….How in the hell can that make me feel good?

It was nearing the time of New Years resolutions and a good friend said to me, “Kelly, please join this ‘Couch to 5K’ http://cnycap.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Couch-to-5k.pdf programme and I will run it too to show you some support and we will get you running 5k in 9 weeks.” my initial reaction “I cant bloody walk 5k let alone run the damn thing, are you trying to kill me” and then she said something that totally struck a chord with me and found myself enrolling immediately… she simply said “I think it will be good for you mind, body and soul” so I approached the idea of running in new way and thought if this running could be my outlet for ‘headspace’ and freedom from my thoughts, then I’m in and so the 9 week programme began.

Spurred on with this thought of escapism from reality I found myself running in minus weather conditions, snow, sleet, rain and wind. No-one was more surprised than I!!! Initially it was very easy to follow the programme as it had been designed as a platform for people that have barely lifted a cheek from their sofas since the first airing of Eastenders. Week one involved literally running for 1 minute and then walking for 90 seconds…. Totally elated, with red cheeks and a sweaty forehead half an hour later, on my new found high “Yay I can run” and I began to believe I could actually achieve this and running, 1 minute isn’t a lot of running UNTIL YOU actually RUN IT…

Gradually week by week the programme increased by small increments steadily building on your stamina, I will never be a marathon runner nor will I be giving Usain Bolt a run for his money anytime soon, nevertheless I try and when I try to do something I will apply 100% of what ever it is I have got to give …. “All or Nothing” a motto I stand firm to.

My Monday evening jogging with my friends became a necessary outlet for me, daily my mind was a wash with a mushy mish mash of everything, a constant image reel of Elliot’s, Louis and Corey’s faces in my mind, flashing round and round like they are on a repetitive slideshow. Ill never forget them but I need space from them and space from this life without them in it. I found running gave me this. From the minute I began the steady ‘plod’ …… I smile from ear to ear when typing the word ‘plod’ as this was a term used to describe our running in the early weeks, described by my faithful friend Lisa… anyway back to the plodding… From the minute I began the steady plod around the jolly heights of Leighton Buzzard I found my mind was clear, clear from almost everything, another huge benefit of jogging. Allowing you the time to think about life’s problems or time to escape them for awhile, tension easily flies by the wayside. Speed runs are great for tearing through aggression and anger. Focus all that emotion into a few sprints and you’ll feel better in no time. I say the word ‘Speed’ loosely for many could briskly walk quicker than my sprint but in my head I was at least levelling and on par with our great Dame Kelly Holmes…. Weren’t I?

Week 9 came very quickly and I was nervous anxious and excited to participate my first ever 5K run…. I ‘plodded’ around the 5K route and completed my circuit in 36 minutes. Mission Accomplished.

So from being a couch potato I now run 5k 2-3 times a week and I am proud to say I DON’T ENJOY IT… If I’m honest while I’m running I don’t particularly enjoy it but at the end of the run or ‘plod’, that’s when I am awash with a great sense of achievement and that buzz people have hyped on at me about for years and years, and I have to agree with them it feels SHAMAZING! On these days accomplishment reins over sorrow and grief is placed to a compartment at the back of my mind because when I run, I run for peace, I run to escape the self persecution and self blame I have become all too familiar with, I run to numb my reality and be ‘Kelly’ NOT Lilly-Ella Toby and Isla’s mummy, NOT Robs Wife or the Bereaved Mother of Three…. I run for ME!

So I am eternally thankful to Lisa for offering me a direction and an outlet for soul searching and a shoulder to snuffle on (On THAT day) and I thank her whole heartedly for her continual support along the way and through her I am pleased to of met Laura a likeminded female with an amazing ‘minimum effort – maximum output’ type of run that I am yet to master and without forgetting the one and only Jayne, my fellow ‘stealthy remedial runner’ whom I have ran alongside and together we joked, laughed and breathed heavier than prank caller but together the team of us amazingly great women have jogged villages and countryside far and wide as a quartet of insignificant hobbits….