Thursday, October 3, 2013

September Grief Project: In Her Honor 30 Acts of Kindness in 30 Days

A few months ago I received a couple gifts in the mail from people who have been touched in some way by Nora's story.  One was from an online friend I had made recently after I started my blog.  She too experienced the stillbirth of her son Ro a few weeks before Nora was born sleeping.  In the package was a picture of Nora's name highlighting the meaning "Light" and "Honor" along with a beautiful poem all about a baby's love for her mother signed with "Love, Nora."

This act of kindness from my friend could have not been more perfect.  I wept tears of sorrow and joy all at once and knew in that moment that I needed to pay it forward in Nora's name.  I wanted to spread her light as Ro's mom had spread his and live up to the truth of Nora's name.  I needed to honor her.  And so, for the month of September I did just that.  I set out to do 30 acts of kindness in 30 days all in Nora's honor!

The idea of spreading kindness as a way to remember your deceased child is no new concept.  There is even a day dedicated to it, July 27th.  In 1996 Joanne Cacciatore, Founder of the MISS Foundation started the Kindness Project as a way for parents to remember and honor their deceased child anonymously. There are even Kindness Project cards you can use to let others know the act was done in your deceased child’s name. Now, according to the MISS Foundation website almost 2,000,000 Kindness Project cards have been left around the world and counting.  I decided I wanted to jump on this beautiful bandwagon.

So for the month of September I set out to do one act of kindness each day in honor of Nora.  I was able to keep up with one act each day until about day 18.  Then as happens to all of us, I got overwhelmed with life and I almost gave up.  But I hung in there and even did the last eight acts of kindness on the last day of the month, September 30th, which would have been my beautiful girl's ninth month on earth.  Maybe that is what gave me the strength to continue spreading her light and love knowing it was an anniversary of sorts.
Nevertheless, I finished the project and I could not have been more proud of myself.  It felt like Nora was literally reaching out and touching people through the acts of kindness I would do.  One act of kindness moved a friend to finally share her beautiful son’s name publicly, while another brightened a child’s day because she received a message from an angel.  Here is the story of the little girl finding the word rock that Carol from Word Rocks left in California in honor of Nora earlier in the month:

“We were in front of our school in Encinitas yesterday when my beautiful Bella came running towards me with a big smile on her face saying: “Mommy, mommy!! And angel has brought that to me! We were all smiling.” 

(If you would like to honor your child’s memory through Word Rocks, please feel free to contact Carol as it was her idea to share Nora’s beauty in this special way).

And other amazing things happened. Like, I felt honored to pay it forward to Ro’s mom who is also struggling with fertility issues.  I was honored to donate to her page and share her story in hopes that her husband and she will reach their monetary goal so they can go through another round of fertility treatments. You can visit it at Hope is Our Anchor if you would also like to pay it forward to the deserving couple. 

Also, I was even able to help make Light the Night with Love happen in Texas through a donation, even if I could only be there in spirit. Probably the hardest, and one of most moving, acts of kindness I did was sponsor a memory box for a mom whose future will be similar to mine and write a sweet letter to the bereaved mother-to-be.  (Just typing it sounds so sad).  I was able to do this through a special woman from Blessed With More who helps create these precious memories for parents in Minnesota.  If you would like to donate visit her website by clicking here for more information.
I could go on and on.  The experience of spending a whole month dedicated to sharing Nora’s love and light to brighten others days has helped aid my healing process and I have met so many beautiful people along the way.  One of the best gifts I received from this was when other women started contacting me and telling me that they were inspired by my 30 acts of kindness for Nora and that they too wanted to start doing the same in honor of their child! I must admit again, it wasn’t an original idea but it sure is neat that KINDNESS was the COOL new thing. 

If you would like to continue the tradition of spreading kindness in your child’s honor, please do so.  Below you will find my list of 30 acts of kindness I did in 30 days.  You can also visit the MissFoundation Kindness Project page to find more ideas along with the kindness cards to give out during your act of kindness if you like.
Enjoy the 30 Acts of Kindness that were INSPIRED by Nora’s Love & Light
  1. Send a Thank You Card to My Aunt Sue.  (She has sent me comfort cards every week since Nora died.)
  2.  Left an Encouraging Note for Nora’s Dad.
  3. Give Away Free Compliments by putting up a Complement Sign.
  4. Donate Money & Personalized Card to Make a Baby Memory Box for a Bereaved Mother.
  5. Left a BIG Tip.
  6. Donated to a Couple Raising Money for IVF to Have a Baby.
  7. Raised Money & Participated in a Walk to Honor Stillborn Babies and Provide Support for Their Families. 
  8. Left A Word Rock "Honor You."
  9. Left a Word Rock "Breathe."
  10. Left a Word Rock "Peace."
  11. Left a Word Rock "Joy."
  12. Left a Word Rock "Heal."
  13. Left a Word Rock "Love Found You."
  14. Left a Word Rock "Thank You."
  15. Left Word Rocks "Let Your Light Shine", "Hope Lives Here", & "Beautiful Is What You Are."
  16. Bought and Gave a Gift of The Giving Keys.
  17. Donated to Light the Night with Love. A Lantern Release for Babies Gone Too Soon.
  18. Brought a Treat to Share with My Co-Workers.
  19. Shared Candy with My Clients.
  20. Donated Money to a Doggy Shelter.
  21. Bought a Homeless Man Breakfast.
  22. Bought Coffee that Proceeds Went to Cancer Research and the Coffee was Donated to Troops Overseas.
  23. Gave Away a Coach Purse to a Deserving Angel Mom.
  24. Paid for the Person Behind Me in Line at the Coffee Shop.
  25. Bought My Co-Worker Coffee to Brighten Her Day and Thank Her for All She Does.
  26. Donated a Few of Nora's Outfits and My Maternity Clothes to a Pregnancy Shelter.
  27. Created a Care Package for Ronald McDonald House Guests.
  28. Left Inspiring Quotes and Messages in Public Places.
  29. Made a Child Name Graphic for a Fellow Bereaved Mamma.
  30. Nominated A Couple for a Tree from Project 52.
Uh Oh…I did 31 Acts of Kindness.  I guess Kindness is contagious. (Or I can’t count).

   31.  I Sent a Gift to Mom's Expecting Their Rainbow Babies. 

WOW!!! That all feels really good.  Now I know that feeling of goodness is Nora’s light and love finding me.


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