Scattering kindness

December 15, 2021

Scattering Kindness in Memory of Ryan

"It's not what you gather, but instead what you scatter that tells what kind of life you lived"

Over the last couple years it has become more difficult to see the good. With so much negative information, so much divide, I barely turn on the news. Family and friends do not trust that there are many kind people left.  But still, I remain steady in my quest for good, to spread joy, and even for my sometimes-cynical self, see the good, even with heartache so glaringly close.

As difficult as life can be, we still have a choice in how we present ourselves to the world. We can choose to be positive, to scatter kindness and to see the many good things that happen in a day. I want that life. I know agony, I have lived through it. But when I look around, it is my positive friends and family I long to emulate. The ones that still find joy, believe in the good and see the world in a positive slant. Those people help me to strive for more, doing my part to add a joyful light to a darkened earth.

On Tuesday, December 7th, Ryan’s birthday, I chose to not only see the good but to also be the good. I woke with a positive feeling; a welcome change from the sadness I experienced for so many years, and moved with purpose, devoted to this search for the joy, and illuminating ways to give back in our community. 

Starbucks is usually a favorite; reminding those who are hurrying through life to slow down. Paying for a birthday cake at a local bakery is always a hit, and one of my favorite acts of kindness demonstrated by Katie several years ago for Ryan. Many recipients revealed how this one act created pause from the frustrations of planning a party, opening to gratitude. At Honeybee bakery, we shed a tear as we choose a recipient and share in these stories of loss. Kindness is the best act I could demonstrate to represent Ryan; his gentle kindness is forever in my heart. 

My last stop in the morning was at Boyert’s Greenhouse. In December of 1992, on Ryan’s 5th birthday we purchased our Christmas tree, the attendant at that tree farm gave Ryan a $5 bill and forever changed our lives.  To purchase a Christmas tree for another family could provide them with a lasting memory of Ryan and the spirit of giving.  Overcome, since that was the last thing we did with Ryan, I spoke with the employees with enthusiasm. As we talked, a thread of connection was revealed, another nudge from God that I was on the right path.

While I shared Ryan’s story, we began to stitch together a connection. At first, I was asked if Ryan attended The Nurtury preschool, to which I excitedly replied yes, then thinking, corrected myself. No, it was my daughter who went to the Nurtury. Just months after Ryan died, we moved into our new house, the one where Ryan chose his room. I was lost in grief when a neighbor had suggested The Nurtury for Chelsea. Those few days a week could help her and me. The woman helping me at Boyerts was the secretary at The Nurtury when Chelsea went there. She knew Ryan’s story and remembered Chelsea’s name. It was an amazing link to connection, to a story I would have never known.

Soon I met the owner and many of the other staff and I shared Ryan’s story again and again.  In most situations I like to keep to myself, but when sharing the story of loss and kindness, I launch into our story to continue Ryan’s joy. I left Boyert’s that day with delight and as the clock moved to 12:07, I knew Ryan felt it too.

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