Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Random Acts of Kindness - A New Year Reflection

As I prepare for the upcoming new year, Rosh Hashanah, and the commensurate 10 days of teshuvah, I find my thoughts fixating not on thoughts of forgiveness, but rather appreciation.

THE single most important thing that I have experienced since my breast cancer diagnosis is the random act of kindness. The appreciation and gratitude that I feel cannot be overstated. Some of the acts have been done knowingly. Some have been inadvertent. Some have come from “expected” sources. Other acts have been from totally unexpected realms. All have been warmly welcome.

For someone who is professional (and emotionally) immersed in an area of law that daily exposes me to the ugly underbelly of human character (I am a children’s advocate whose professional and philanthropic endeavors are centered around abused and neglected children) I am not that accustomed to the kinder gentler side of the human condition. Additionally, as both a “Type-AAA+” and “care-taker” personality, I typically don’t allow myself to be on the receiving end of assistance. I suppose for me during these days of teshuvah, appreciation is a requisite step toward redemption.

As such, I have been blown away, and softened, by the large hearts that beat around me. To share just a few…

…the email support that I received from the lady who started the “Breast Camp Boot Camp” who communicated diligently with me from diagnosis to surgery. I wouldn't be able to pick her out of a police line-up (we have never met face-to-face), but her words were memorable. THANK YOU!

…the store manager and sales clerk at the Brighton boutique at the Chandler Fashion Center who gave me a selection of jewelry gift pouches to aesthetically conceal the “D-bombs” that were my forced companions up until this past Friday, asking only that I “get better.” THANK YOU!

…the additional complimentary weekly “house maintenance” offered by my cleaning lady of 6 years. THANK YOU!

…the “hospital care package” that a big-hearted lady gave me, that included a pound of dark chocolate (to be used for medicinal purposes only, oh yeah), a selection of Burt’s Bees lip balms, a super cute hospital cami (complete with skull & cross bones (eh ?????) and a “Don’t Lose Your Style” breast cancer survival book. One of the inadvertent “gifts” that was the “value-added” to this care package was NOT encasing it in the odious ICBC PINK. (she chose purple). The other, was found within the pages of the Style book that provided me with my first introduction to the existence of the Oncotype DX test! THANK YOU!

…the amazing meals that extremely busy friends brought over to our Phoenix home, both while I was hospitalized and afterwards. The ladies who went out of their way to care for my family and myself are those friends who, because we are all busy professionals and moms, cannot find social time for ourselves. Yet, despite their own stress-filled lives (and the fact that we have not had time even for a phone call all summer), brought meals that not only sustained the body, but truly nourished my family’s collective soul. (My 8-year old exclaimed his appreciation, rather dramatically, for one in particular. After he took his first mouthful he cried out joyfully “brisket made by G-d”.) THANK YOU!

…the flowers, letters, and cards from so many people, including the unexpected communications from my adopted-sibling’s mother; the mother of a chess team-mate of my 8 year old; and the 80-something year old cousin of mine that I have not seen in 45 years (and she's still alive and kicking!). THANK YOU!

…the diligent and caring, blog-following, communication, outreach and support, and pressies (some that made me blush and giggle) from old friends – even a couple from boarding school of who’s friendship had been dormant for 30 years, but rekindled without question. THANK YOU!

And so much more… THANK YOU! ... L’shanah tovah!


  1. You have to turn this into a book. It's great info! Happy New Year! I will be in Arkansas this weekend. Love you.

  2. As one of your polytheistic, pagan, and rarely called feminist friends - I am sure the reference to "brethren" i.e. male brothers includes all human kind, maybe even all sentient beings. I am grateful for all the goddesses, gods, angels, and all that is - who watch over you and your family. Blessed be - Merry be forever more. ~Coffey-Cakes

  3. LOL! "Brethren" was consciously used as a comprehensive appellation. But, in retrospect, there might be some twisted unconscious, and not necessarily flattering, meaning attached. Despite having a primary surgeon who is female, as well as a radiation oncologist who is female, I feel that the push for adjuvant therapies is coming more from the "male" members of the med-pro squad. -- TC