Don’t cringe if you hate Valentine’s Day. Keep reading. I’m about to share an incredible lesson from a 6-year-old.
Valentine’s Day is one of those holidays that is filled with expectations. If there is a sweetheart involved, we tend to expect that person to love us a little better on this particular day. If expectations aren’t met, we may wish the entire world would just go away or be very quiet about their own happiness while we work through our disappointment.
This day of love is especially hard when the person we cherish the most is gone. Grief leaves a void no bouquet of flowers or box of chocolates can fill. Not even a perfectly worded greeting card can recapture what has been lost.
Six-year-old Kallie has been learning kindness from her family for, well, about six years. She might have found the perfect solution for those suffering.
Kallie has grown particularly close to an elderly couple who moved into a nursing home several years ago. The couple chose that residence because it is across the parking lot from the Lutheran church where they had raised their family.
Kallie’s grandparents had grown up with the couple’s children. The family made it a priority to visit their "senior friends" often, so Kallie grew close to the couple by watching her own grandparents, parents and uncle as they helped the couple attend church on Sundays. Other times, they would visit in the nursing home, just to talk and hold hands.
The couple had been married 67 years. Imagine the void the woman felt when her husband recently died. Sixty-seven years together, and now separated. What words or act of kindness could possibly soothe that sort of heartache?
Kallie’s mom, Kara, shared what happened shortly after the husband passed.
“Kallie and I went to visit a friend of ours today who lost her husband. After our visit we did some errands. Kallie then said we needed to go back and see our friend again. I asked why and Kallie simply stated, ‘I have to give her something.’
"So we headed back to the nursing home. When we pulled up, Kallie asked for her little T-shirt shaped notebook. She started drawing, then asked, ‘How do you spell ‘You have me?’’ I asked her what she meant and she looked at me as if to say, ‘Don’t you get it?’
"I repeated the words again, trying to figure them out. Kallie then jumped in to explain, ‘Because she still has me, Mom. I am here for her.’
"With tears in my eyes I wrote out the words for Kallie. Kallie then folded up the note and brought it into our friend."
Maybe there is something we can say to the person who is feeling lonely this Valentine’s Day. Maybe we can take Kallie’s lead and simply say, “You have me.”
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND, 58107.
Nicole J. Phillips, a former Fargo television anchor, is a speaker, author and host of The Kindness Podcast. She lives in Aberdeen, S.D., with her three children and her husband, Saul Phillips, the head men's basketball coach at Northern State University. You can visit Nicole at nicolejphillips.com.