It rained pretty much all day today, starting just after I started my long run. My long run was only six miles this week, so I didn't mind running in the rain. I kept the pace slow, and just tried to enjoy the run.
I got an e-mail that I thought was so awesome I just have to share. It's from a woman named Kimberly Cherry, who followed along with Mark's story (I asked her permission to share the email):
When Mark died and you asked for random acts of kindness.... ice cream came to my mind instantly : ) I grabbed vanilla, chocolate and strawberry ice cream, along with every possible topping me or anyone I asked in the grocery store could think of, and headed to a nearby nursing home.
The look on the residents' faces was priceless... and the staff was in tears.
When I told my son (he's 11) about it that evening.... he said, "let's do it again !" So... I arranged for with the nursing home for us to come out and have a "dessert party" once a month....every month. We chose dessert...because that's our happiest meal and Mark taught me from so far away... the value of being happy.
It has been SO MUCH FUN, I can't even begin to tell you... It's always the second of the month so the residents look forward to it and know we'll be coming. We've done: a cookie, cobbler, cake, brownie, ice cream (homemade) month.... and since we live in the south- you have to have a pie month! And we've done a couple of "international dessert" months when we've made desserts from other countries and even made a PowerPoint presentation about the countries to share with the residents.
We've lost a few residents.... a couple have died, a few went home (but their families have brought them back for the parties!) and we've gotten new residents.
We can't imagine not doing this.... we've carried some of our family members with us, friends of my son... and some of my co workers. Everyone has such a GOOD time !
And I think of Mark every time ...and thank him for reminding me to be happy...and how so often it comes from creating "happy" for someone else.
I'm thinking about you Katie and your family.... and I know Mark is too."
Isn't that just amazing? That is more than I ever dreamed would happen when I suggested that people do random acts of kindness in Mark's honor! After reading that email, I knew what I had to do today to celebrate Mark's birthday.
This afternoon, I went to the store and bought two gallons of ice cream, some whipped cream, and several topping choices for sundaes. Then Jerry, the kids, and my parents went to Mark's group home to bring them the sundae supplies to enjoy for dessert tonight.
The last time I was there was when Mark was dying, and hospice came to evaluate him. I wanted to go back several times, but I feel like I don't really have a purpose to go now that Mark is gone. Bringing the sundae supplies was a good reason to go, and I know Mark would certainly approve ;)
My mom had a bunch of ring lights that she passes out with candy on Halloween, so we handed those out to the residents, and they thought they were pretty cool. Most of the residents are very quiet, but there are a couple that are talkative, and I always like listening to what they have to say. One of the guys proudly showed us some Halloween buttons on his shirt, and another guy told us about the doctor coming to check out his ear, because he hurt it while he was sleeping.
We didn't stay long, because they were getting ready to have dinner, but I'm so glad that I went. I feel like I did something good in Mark's honor, and I know the residents will be happy to have sundaes tonight. Afterward, I went home to pass out candy to any trick-or-treaters that may come. I've never actually been home on Halloween, so I wasn't sure how many kids come down our street, but my neighbors said they usually only get 3-4 kids each year. (As I ended this post, trick-or-treating was over. We got a total of 8 kids! Haha. The leftover candy is going in the Kitchen Safe.)
My kids went trick-or-treating with Jerry's mom. I have no idea what Noah's costume is supposed to be... he just saw it at Goodwill and wanted it. Eli is a zombie, and I bought make-up to put on him, but he didn't want to use it ;)
My parents went to the movies tonight instead of passing out candy. They asked if I wanted to go, but I really wanted to stay home tonight and pass out candy. When we left the group home, my mom handed me my own treat for Halloween:
Coffee Crisp!! I adore these candy bars, but you can only get them in Canada, so I don't get them very often. It's kind of funny, because whenever someone in my family goes to Canada for whatever reason (we live about 30 minutes from the border in Detroit), they come home with a ton of Coffee Crisp candy bars ;) It was 7 PointsPlus, and the perfect treat for Halloween. I went all of October without having any Halloween candy, so this was worth the wait!
Anyway, I think I will make it a new tradition to bring dessert to the group home every Halloween in honor of Mark (and hopefully more often--maybe monthly or every other month). Kimberly's email was very inspiring, and I hope that it inspires people to do something kind for someone else. I wish Mark was around to see just how big of an impact he made!