Today I’d like to take some time to celebrate the unsung heroes who exist in our ordinary lives; those who sacrifice a portion of their lives to support someone struggling with an illness or difficulty. Kindness is a rare human trait these days, yet these simple, sincere acts are what we will remember with fondness for the rest of our lives.
Kindness has power. It has the ability to bring joy in the midst of pain and suffering – an ironic smile upon a beaten form, a quiet rebuttal to despair. Kindness is an inspiration to life. Kindness can mean the world to someone in agony. Loved ones, acquaintances and even strangers have blessed me with kindness throughout my life. Here are both some big and little things they have done, engraved in my mind for all eternity:
- Showering me as I huddle on the bathroom floor, immobilised by pain.
- Blow drying my hair, feeding me, or lifting me up when my joints are too swollen to bend or stand.
- Jumping out of bed at 3am and insisting on accompanying me to the hospital, during a major flare or heart palpitation episode. Then heading off to work right after without complaint.
- Napping in a hard, tiny chair overnight at the hospital, sharing my suffering. Assisting me with simple chores that I couldn’t do for the moment, such as pouring a glass of water.
- Staying up late into the night just to massage my swollen muscles or comfort me, while I beg like a maniac for help.
- Helping out with work projects that I took up thinking that they would be easy to do, yet could not complete due to indescribable fatigue or pain.
- Washing my hair with a small bowl of water as I sat in a chair a day after heart surgery, knowing that it would grant me simple pleasure.
- Throwing surprise birthday parties over the years, when I was too sick to leave the house. Also for presenting the most thoughtful gifts ever, and not giving a damn that I was clad in my pyjamas.
- And most importantly, for treating me like a normal person, and having faith that I will be better tomorrow.
These are but a small selection of what these heroes do in silence day in and out, with nary a grudge or complaint. The biggest acts are always the small, consistent ones.
To those who suffer from chronic illnesses – are you able to relate to these scenarios? What are some acts of kindness others have shown you, that you will forever be grateful for?
For More Insight:
- How Kindness Became Our Forbidden Pleasure (article on Brain Pickings): https://goo.gl/E1McAc
- George Saunders on the Power of Kindness, Animated (article & video on Brain Pickings): https://goo.gl/KJTUjX