Thursday, July 28, 2011

Random Act of Kindness Day

Yesterday, July 27th, was International Kindness Project Day(tm) by the MISS Foundation. As most of you know, I am a MISS Foundation HOPE Mentor. A few weeks ago, I had the great fortune with another blogger and HOPE Mentor CLC to meet the Executive Director of the MISS Foundation, Kathy Sandler. She is a compassionate, loving soul and being with her was easy and wonderful. She invited me and CLC to tell our stories over some dinner with another non-profit director to explain why the MISS Foundation is so important. It was wonderful to be in a place where our birth stories are listened heard and our babies are honored.

This year, I wanted to do something special for Kindness Project Day, and I was drawing blanks all day. Beezus has been taking gymnastics camp all week from 9a to 1p, so this is kind of the lead up to pre-K, which she starts in the fall. (gulp.) She was fine. She walked into the room and didn't think about me again until I showed up waving on the other side of the window. Mama, on the other hand, was a little beside herself. If this week wasn't so dang busy, I probably would have been emotional. As it was, I couldn't wait to pick her up, scoop her up in my arms, and gobble her.

Yesterday, I suppose, I was a little emotional already when I dropped her off. Then Thor and I headed to Starbies for my first random act of kindness. I know STARBUCKS??! The Evil Empire of Coffee?!?! Go ahead, get indignant. Sadly, Starbucks plays a role in my grief as perhaps the only place I would go that wasn't absolutely necessary. Perhaps because it was a corporate, anonymous place where I could walk in, have a latte and no one was going to ask me about the baby. So, in that way, Starbucks kind of became a bit of a wooby. I should also add, apropos of nothing, that it was the first and only place I have gotten hit on after Lucy died. Yes, it was by a lesbian. And yes, it felt damned good, and helped my mood immensely.

Anyway, yesterday, I went in and asked for my iced latte, my sister's coffee, and a fifty dollar gift card. And when she was going through everything, and I was paying, I asked her if she could keep the gift card and buy the people behind me in line, and all the next few people who came in, coffee with it, until it was gone. And then I eeked out, "My daughter died, and I'm doing it in her name. Here are some cards to explain." And by that time, my voice was breaking up, and my hands were shaking, and I realized that even though I have said it many times, in many different ways, it sometimes still knocks the piss out of me to say that my daughter died, because some days I still cannot fucking believe that this is my life.

I ran out of there, even though the lady cried too, and gave me all my coffees for free, and doubled my giveaway, which they did last time I did this in a Starbucks, which is what is also cool about Starbucks.

I went to my sister's house to cry, and help her sew something, which got me out of my head. I am counting the helping sew as part of my kindness project, because I suck at it.

Then I called my husband and he told me it wasn't kind at all to just spend money on people, particularly money for our family. We had the discussion beforehand a few weeks ago, but I guess the fifty bucks came as a shock, because who spends fifty bucks at Starbucks? And why is it related to Lucy? And I just cried and hung up on him, and was feeling very not kindly at all. In fact, I felt like I caused more pain than not.

I came home and realized that I needed to do something for other grieving parents, and so I put a call on Facebook to paint free mizuko jizo altar paintings for anyone who wanted them. I received twenty-five requests, which is amazing. I started immediately last night, and began with my friends who lost their first baby Luna, and then between their second and third baby, they lost a set of twins all after twelve weeks. And both of them were so present for me after Lucy died, that it was an honor to paint for them. And really it is an honor to paint for everyone. It feels selfish that I should get to paint so many jizos and be in a state of meditation for so long. I am grateful for the opportunity to spread kindness and hopefully I inspired someone else to pay it forward in Lucia's name.

First five jizo paintings for International Kindness Project Day.


TracyOC said...

I feel like a dork commenting first but I just want to tell you that all of your RAOK are awesome--even the $50 corporate giant one. After all, who needs to be reminded of kindness more than corporate America?
Although I heard once that all Starbies baristas have health and vision coverage--so maybe they aren't so bad.

And congrats on the successful survival of Bea's gymnastics camp. Such a tough transition.

Amy said...

I think paying for people's coffee is lovely! And I too have a Starbucks connection to my healing and grief of Liam. Another BLM and I met at our local Starbucks every Friday for over a year to talk, cry and share our Hopes of motherhood. Good or bad, Starbucks is a part of my story too.

The Jizo are lovely as always. Beautiful.