formerly Diane's Addled Ramblings... the ramblings are still addled, just like before, and the URL is still the same...
it's just the title at the top of the page that's new

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Random Acts of Kindness...

A woman died yesterday. A woman I knew. She wasn't someone I knew well -- just in passing, really; just well enough to smile and say hello. Our daughters swam on the same team last summer. It was Ryan's first year and her daughter's last, so we didn't move in the same swimmy circles. She was old hat at the swim-mom thing; I was just learning my way.

I'd volunteered to coach the youngest swimmers on the team... 'My Little Sinkers', I called them. Actually what I did was not so much coaching as it was simply preventing them from drowning, and even though I was the oldest (by far) on a coaching staff made up of gorgeous 16 to 22-year-olds, each with about 8% body fat, I had a lot of fun. But there were nights when it took major effort to get me to the pool.

One particularly chilly evening, I got out of the water at the end of practice and stood, wrapped in a towel, shivering. The woman who died yesterday came up to me and said, "We all think you're pretty brave to get in the water on nights like this." I chuckled and replied, "Brave? Or stupid?" She burst out laughing. Then she said, "You are so good with the little ones. We really appreciate what you do."

It was such a simple statement. "We really appreciate what you do." But it had such an impact on me. She didn't have to say it. I wasn't even working with her daughter. She wouldn't be returning to the team next summer. We'd never spoken and she'd probably never see me again after the season was over. But still, she took the time to say something kind; something that affected me a great deal and made those chilly evenings a lot easier to take.

Of course I thanked her for her kind words. I suspect she was the sort of person who said kind things often but I wonder if she had any idea just how much they were appreciated by the people to whom she said them. Maybe she did. I really hope she did.

16 comments:

Michelle said...

Hello,
Diane i have to tell you that one of my sort of goals for 2009 was to actually tell people out loud that i appreciate them. Well, only people who i really appreciate. Not like total strangers on the subway who stand just a bit to close to me in the crowded subway car. Those people, i definitely do not appreciate!!

I am sorry about your person who died. Even if you didn't know her all that well, still. She was a nice person.

So, in the spirit of this post, i want to tell you that Diane i appreciate you and the fact that you make me laugh and to me that is a BIG thing. Seriously, your a good egg!!!

Happy Hump Day, lets hug it out bitch!!!

Heather said...

Isn't it strange how those kind words can stick with us for so long? Even from almost strangers. It sounds like she was a kind, wonderful woman.
And we all appreciate what you do. :)

A Woman Of No Importance said...

Diane, thank you for your support to me in my fledgling Bloglet!

Seriously, it takes courage to thank others for what they do (and what they take for granted) as a matter of course. Sometimes people look at you as if you have been released from some kind of institution, as part of a Care In The Community kind of programme, if you say something nice to them, or is that just the UK?

I was once on a course, where they asked us to do just that - To go out into society and thank others - It was very moving and heartening - We also had to explain it was part of Leadership training! Maybe that made it easier - I always take time to thank others whenever it's warranted for something specific they've done - It costs nothing, it's very positive for both parties, and I feel helps with the karma thing.

I'd like to think that lady is in a special space somewhere, wallowing in light, before she comes back as a cat, or something else superior...

And hey, preventing kids from drowning is such a fantastic thing to do - Bless you, fellow Bohemian!

Love, light and thanks,

Fhina x

Anonymous said...

Taking a moment to reflect on the passing of a stranger and the little moments that tie us all together in this big cuddly world. Another of those many things about you that make me smile. I felt for a long time that my father was not a nice person, until the day we laid him to rest and I got to shake the hands and hug the shoulders of ALL the people who came out to pay their respects. Opened my eyes in amazement at how many people felt he was a good person. Maybe they didn't know him as well as I thought I did, or maybe I didn't know him as well as I thought I did.

OOYSA

Ronda's Rants said...

I suspect that this was part of her nature and she hopefully surrounded herself with people who shared their feelings.
I lost someone when I was in high school right after he and I had a disagreement, a very public one I might add! While I wasn't sorry about what I had said to him...I was so sorry that it was our last conversation and had I known...I think I would have let it go!
I do measure my words carefully...to see if it really will be okay for this to be my last conversation.
His death changed me in that way...good or bad I say it...if I feel strongly!
I am so sorry for her family!

The Odd Duck said...

Sometimes it really is the small things that mean so much to us. A kind word, a smile, a hug. Sometimes it is nice just to be acknowledged.

Keeping her family and friends in my thoughts.

Jane! said...

That's something I wish I could remember to do more often. I try to do it with my kids but... yeah, you've inspired me with your story.

Cat said...

Awesome tribute. May we all have a little bit more of that woman in us this year.

Mel said...

Sometimes, just sometimes, you're not mean at all!

ps..I think I might've gotten a little knuckle rap from the Nuns Having Fun creators. We'll see what happens. I gave credit to both the calendar and the Graham Norton Show for the quote, so hopefully that was enough.

Lee said...

Beautiful. A really special life lesson there. In a time when people are far too keen to criticise, condemn or even litigate, a time when 'thank you' and other social courtesies are becoming more rare, it is good to see complements and appreciation heart-felt and freely given.

If people have no other NY resolution, to show more appreciation of others should be inked onto their list, in bold.

Protege said...

Yes, it is the small encounters in life that sometimes mean so much. This was a wonderful tribute to her. Beautiful as usual, Diane.

Sam_I_am said...

There was a woman that used to park in the parking lot next to me all the time. My slot is 39 and hers is 40. I don't know her name and I don't know where she works, but she hasn't been there in a long while. I worry about her and wonder if something happened to her, because she was nice and always told me good morning and asked me how I was. It's the little things that make someone special.

Heinous said...

Very nice. It makes even me want to tell people I appreciate what they do.

Maithri said...

You're killin me...

Let me paint you a picture (a verbal one cos i dont have my paintbrushes and even if i did i couldnt paint on the screen... unless i had the new version of MS paint which i dont....but i digress lol)

im sitting at a hospital computer in the doctors resident quarters... next to an anaesthetist in scrubs on the computer about 2 metres away...

And hes lookin at me all wierd cos Im sniffling and dabbing at my eyes with a handkerchief...

You've got a real gift my friend...

Thanks for sharing your beautiful heart,

Love, M

J Cosmo Newbery said...

Beautifully written. Thank you.

SSP said...

you never know when or how something you say is going to be used or remembered....I hear things like this and it reminds me to try and take a little pause before I snap someone's head off....the same energy to say something nice can have much more effect, as you so accurately and sweetly point out. I am sorry for the pain her family must be going through :-(