On December 23, 2005, he said I was the kindest person he knew.
A year and a half later I never had the chance to tell him that it was he that was the kindest. It was he that chose me for some odd reason and showed me what true kindness was. It was he that I prayed to god every night to keep alive over me. It was he whose life echoed and echos on through those I had no clue his kindness had touched.
Now, 7 years later, I woke up on the sofa. It was a hard night to try sleep in my bed. I awoke knowing that I could take this day that was the moment that solidified our eternal love, and for once, not make it a day that was harder than any other. This day was going to be the day I wanted to live up to the vows he wrote to me. Today was going to be a day that I echoed his life, even more, to strangers who would never know his name or sacrifice.
My best friends sent me flowers and survival kits full of tissues and chocolate, but I knew there was much more to be done.
I jumped in my car and headed to Wal-Mart. I purchased the needed items. Heavy duty sticky notes, "Hello, My Name Is" labels, Ferrero Rocher chocolates and 4 gift cards.
"$25 on each please." I asked the cashier.
"And I need you to do something for me. Keep one and give the next 3 to the next 3 people to check out."
"Are you sure?" she asked hesitantly.
"Well, Merry Christmas!" she replied.
I walked out as I heard her tell and hand the first gift card to the next to check out.
I exited with a smile.
I got into my car and started preparing the notes and labels for their mission for the day.
I drove off and stopped at the first ATM to leave one gift of kindness. Then off to a Redbox.
Then off to Starbucks where I ordered a drink and 3 more gift cards.
The lady was going to grab a bag for all three when I stuck a label on each and asked her to give one to the next 3 customers. She couldn't believe it, and even gave me a free drink coupon. I looked in my mirror at the young man in the truck that would get the first one and I drove off.
All of this had taken place in 15 minutes and my heart swelled...and so did the tears in my eyes....this was the feeling I had when Michael read his vows...I was living them out loud 7 years later...but had just begun...
I headed to the nearest shopping center for a continuation. I stopped at another ATM to leave a message of hope before heading to Marshall's to leave a message on the bathroom mirror and on a couple of cars before departing. I knew there was a nearby bus stop that would be my next location. I pulled over to see a single dad with his two kids, lovingly playing with them while sitting on the bench and smiling with pure love. I put together another bag of things to ensure their day and Christmas would be a better one, handed it to him as he looked at me in shock and uncertainty, and walked off to turn and see the kids smiling and waving to me. It was amazing.
As I drove off, I saw a group of world travelers, with a lack of means and two dogs, asking for any sort of help. I pulled over, gave them water, dog treats, and some funds to buy a couple more meals, shook their hands, shared some laughs and a photo and departed. Their spirit was amazing.
I drove to the next town where I left a couple other messages and goodies in random spots before heading to McDonalds and grabbing a snack wrap and the tab of the stranger in the car behind me.
Next was Half Price Bookstore, where I grabbed some 80s records, and while checking out, a gift card for the next person to check out. The kind-hearted cashier told me she would remember this for a very long time. I smiled and exited and left another note on a random car.
I then headed to pick up our favorite food we used eat together...sushi...where I tipped 50% and while walking back to my car saw a young couple and their young children, and left one more note for the end of the day on their mini-van.
These individuals weren't any worse off, any less happy, and less loved than I. But they are individuals I feel forever grateful for. They were strangers that became saviors, friends, and ones that I admired.
They let me give them what I have always felt in my heart I was given too much of. Even when I didn't deserve it.
I don't know what will happen. How may people I may have freaked out or may have made their day better. But for 24 hours, I have felt pretty damn good on a day that has always been hard to bear without the person that chose me 7 years ago to be his wife. A person that showed me a level of kindness that I can only try to live a quarter up to.
We danced on December 23, 2005 to Louis Armstrong's "A Kiss to Build a Dream On". One set of the lyrics stated:
"Give me a kiss to build a dream on
And my imagination will thrive upon that kiss
Ah sweetheart, I ask no more than this
A kiss to build a dream on.."
That kiss he gave me led and leads me to thrive, to live, to give, and to show kindness the way he did....or at least a fraction of the way he did. And for the first time in a long time (outside of my daily AWP mission), I felt it the way I did when kissing him, when knowing that all was possible, because I saw it in each person and stranger, and others that I don't even know that were affected by the kindness he inspired me to show on the toughest, but most beautiful, of days.
Happy Anniversary, baby. So in love with you. SO grateful for you. So eternally inspired by you in every way.