Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Gifts from Carrie: A Story of Kindness

By: Lindsay Dawson, Choosy Kids Social Media Account Manager

Kindness comes from the heart and at Choosy Kids, we promote keeping your heart healthy. It doesn’t always have to happen through nutrition and exercise, but sometimes just a good deed can fill your heart.

I’d like to tell you a story that I shared on my personal blog in June of 2014 as it relates to kindness. Enjoy!

Last summer, I met a neighbor named Carrie, a 95-year-old woman with enough spunk, energy, love, dance moves, and kindness to fill the world. We had tentative conversations at first, turning into sweet acquaintances and talks about the weather.
Since our initial meeting, though, she and I have developed a little rapport. Some days, I think she waits for me to pull in the driveway, just to eagerly greet me with a quick “Hey, neighbor!” and a smile. During our very cold and snowy winter, she’d stand in her doorway and wave, grinning ear to ear. I knew she was special then. Carrie reminded me of another sweet neighbor I had growing up; she acted like a grandmother, and meant more to me than I was ever able to tell her. They both reminded me of the glorious possibilities that exist when you open your heart to another person, unapologetically.

In her sweet nature, Carrie began to bring me “gifts”. She’d meet me in the driveway with a Klondike Bar, a Rice Krispy Treat, a handful of Root Beer Barrels. Now, she bangs right on my door – which is sometimes incredibly startling – and hands me her next gift. I began to photograph and post these on my Instagram account, using #giftsfromcarrie to track the images.

These gifts – small, unwrapped, and seemingly ordinary – have filled my heart in a way I can never accurately describe. It overflows. It bursts. Her small acts of kindness are not small at all. They fill my world to the absolute brim, and I made it a personal mission to get a photo with her. I wanted to introduce her on Instagram and my #giftsfromcarrie followers…an unveiling of the serendipitous source of all these kind-hearted gestures. When I asked her for a photo one night, she excitedly put her arm around me and grinned. She asked “Can I do this?” proceeding to stick her tongue out. Of course!, I said. So we took two. A nice one – which I love – and a silly one!
The course of our friendship has been hilarious and entertaining, in the very least. Her sincerity and charm is absolutely captivating. Her wit and liveliness is contagious. She’s a rarity. To witness her character is to experience the exact reason we exist…to build and cultivate breathtaking relationships with those around us.

Carrie is a gem. She’s given me far more than the simple gifts I photograph for Instagram. She’s given me inspiration to never stop moving, caring, and dancing on my front porch – as she does. She’s taught me that a gift does not have to be beautifully wrapped, extravagant, or even planned to be meaningful. A “hello” and a smile can do more for a person’s soul than you may ever know. These are her gift - to me and to each of us. So please, please, please take something away from this remarkable woman with a stunning story.

Please accept these gifts from Carrie.
I am sad to share that Carrie passed away in April of 2015, but through Lindsay’s words, her kindness will live on forever. Even little ones can learn from this story as the #giftsfromcarrie weren’t expensive, but came from the heart, which is where kindness is derived.

Choosy Kids would love for Carrie’s story to be shared through other acts of kindness and tagged with the hashtag #giftsfromcarrie. No act of kindness should go unnoticed, whether big or small, young or old.

This piece was originally posted on StrongTots as part of the Kinder by the Child project!

About the Author: Lindsay Dawson earned her Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Studies and a minor in vocal performance from West Virginia University in 2012. In May of 2014, she graduated from WVU with a Master’s of Science in Integrated Marketing Communications. She has enjoyed working for several non-profits, and in addition to her position with Choosy Kids, Lindsay is currently employed as the Outreach Coordinator for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Morgantown, WV. Her ultimate career ambitions inspire her to combine her love of the arts with her passion for marketing, leadership, and civic engagement.

36 comments :

  1. Awwwww, I am so sorry for your loss. It sounds like Carrie was a wonderful neighbor and friend. What a lovely lady :)

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    1. Thank you! She truly was...what a gem! Thanks for reading!

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  2. I am sorry to hear about your loss, but it's wonderful that you got to share this experience with Carrie. I have no doubt you were as special to her as she was to you. Thanks for the reminder that kindness and love are so prevalent and abundant in times when humanity could use it most.

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    1. Dana, thank YOU for the reminder as well. Carrie was such a light in my life, and never ceased to amaze me with her character and spunk. She taught me so much! Thank you for taking the time to read about her. It helps me know that her life continues to give light!

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  3. Carrie sounds like a sweet and loving woman. I am sorry to hear about her loss. Thank you for sharing with us your beautiful experience with her.

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    1. Thank you for your condolences. Carrie was really special to me, and was truly sweet and loving.

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  4. Oh my gosh this story warms my heart! We need these little gifts in our lives more often. So sorry for your loss.

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    1. Thank you! I completely agree! These little gifts, both tangible and intangible, are things I'll never forget.

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  5. Such a heartwarming story. I wish we had a neighbor like her. She set a very good example of how to show kindness in her own simple way.

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    1. Absolutely! She was such a kind soul. I miss her so much!

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  6. The simple gifts given in great kindness are the most memorable, aren't they? We tend to forget that. I loved your words about Carrie. A beautiful soul.

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    1. You are so right, Traci. Those kinds of gifts really are the most memorable. They certainly had a tremendous impact on me.

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  7. What a wonderful experience and something you will keep with you forever. I am sorry for your loss, but her spunkiness will always be remembered by you and for that she will live on.

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    1. Those were my thoughts exactly! It definitely make me sad to know that I can't visit her anymore, but I like to think that the spunk she had and the stories I carry with me will be forever.

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  8. Carrie sounds like she was an incredible and inspiring woman! I'm sorry to hear of her passing.

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    1. She was very inspiring, yes! Thank you so much for your thoughts.

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  9. It's sad when you lose someone but the friendship and memories you have will always be in your heart. May that be a blessing to you in your times of sorrow.

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, Stephanie. They will truly stay with me forever.

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  10. I am so sorry for your loss!! May the memories that you shared stay with you for a lifetime!!

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    1. Rebecca, I truly think they will! Thanks so much for reading her story!

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  11. Oh Lindsay,

    Sorry for you lose firstly. There must have been a big gap left after Carrie departed our world. Secondly how dare you bring tears to my eyes through a beautiful story (I am at the library).

    When we find true gems they are a blessing. Someone to talk to that we enjoy. I am taking Carry with me into the future, she is going to be my example of what I want to be when I get older. Poke my tongue out at people, dance like a crazy woman and enjoy everyone around me, giving them little gifts.

    Thanks for a wonderful post.

    Rachel.

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    1. Rachel, I am SO moved by your kind response! First, thank you for taking the time to read this post. I poured a lot of my heart into his blog about her, and I am so grateful that it goes beyond my own blog site. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! Like you, I hope to be just like her when I'm older as well! What a great life to strive for! :)

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  12. How touching, Grammies are always so giving and loving. They would always ask about your day and never let you go home empty handed. They are the biggest givers, the most unselfish ones too! Thanks for sharing this post, I was moved.

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    1. Thank you so much for reading this, Elizabeth! Carrie was really a remarkable soul, and definitely a big giver.

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  13. I am sorry for your loss, she seemed like a big part of your life. I wish all neighbors were that sweet. I have had my share of not so nice neighbors, you were blessed to have her as a neighbor!

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  14. This is so sweet. Carrie sounded like an awesome person to know! I love that she inspired you to spread kindness!

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  15. This is very touching story, Carrie was so sweet I'm sure she always at your side. Thank you for sharing your story with Carrie.

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  16. I love this. What a sweet story. I'm so sorry for your loss, though. It seems like it was such a special relationship.

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  17. What a touching story. Carrie was look a sweet neighbor and awesome person.

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  18. What a wonderful, sweet and amazing woman! I love her simple method of showing kindness.

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  19. She's really sweet, you're so blessed to have a good and nice neighbor, but it so sad she gone but I'm sure she's happy now.

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  20. I'm so sorry for your loss, but what an incredible memory to have such a delightful member. Such a touching story.

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  21. It is great to have that relationship with anyone and I am so sorry for your loss.

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  22. This is such a beautiful story, I'm so sorry for the loss of Carrie but it seems like she lived and lead a wonderful life

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  23. I am so sorry for your loss but you are making her alive through this beautiful post. She sounds to have a dynamic and overwhelming personality. You are lucky that you got a chance to meet her and cherish your relationship. :)

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  24. What a wonderful friendship you built. That is so wonderful that she had so much happiness and spunk in her age.

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