This love needs to go somewhere;
this pain must be transformed
into something good.
Love Others So Radically They Wonder Why
It started with this web site (www.MissJackiesHouse.org). It was a place for me to share memories and thoughts about Jackie. I've included many pictures, poems, videos, and song lyrics that have meaning to me or were favorites of Jackie’s. I’ve also posted memories of important events after Jackie’s death.
With inspiration from “The Kindness Project” from the MISS Foundation I created Jackie’s “Kindness Card”...
...the idea is to perform random acts of kindness in your community. A little card is left behind so that the person who benefits from the kindness knows that someone's life and death continue to matter. This beautiful movement has helped thousands of families to heal and find positive outlets for overwhelming grief.
The web site and the Kindness Card gave me a way to honor Jackie and to introduce her to others with an act of kindness. Most often, it would be with an extra tip at a restaurant but also at many other times where it felt like the right thing to do. Several times, and on specific occasions, I would buy gift certificates and give them away (or have someone else give them away) with Jackie’s card.
For Christmas, 2014, I ordered “Pay It Forward” bracelets from Nashelle (nashelle.com) for a few people I love. I like ordering from Nashelle because, as they advertise, they give “one plate of food for every piece of jewelry sold”. The little heart bracelets are hand made from recycled brass and I like them as a reminder of/to love. Here’s what Nashelle says about the bracelet:
Our 'pay it forward' bracelet is a symbol of love, of recognition, of global community; an everyday reminder to care for one another, pass on kindness, and continue this mission of paying it forward… and to remember, we are all in this together.
When I ordered the bracelets, I didn’t know that they came packaged with this card.
I absolutely loved the message and thought it was perfect to give with Jackie’s kindness card. So I started ordering and giving these bracelets with Jackie’s card.
“To Write Love On Her Arms” (twloha.com) comes from a guy (Jamie Tworkowski) that was trying to help a girl (Renee Yohe) suffering with depression and drug addiction. She self-harmed by cutting her arms and writing “F**k Up” with a razor blade. He wanted “to write love on her arms” instead. They made a movie about it (with Kat Dennings from 2 Broke Girls) and it became a non-profit charity “dedicated to presenting hope and finding help for people struggling with depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide.”
It touches me deeply because of the people I love dearly who have had to deal with these issues. I desperately want(ed) to write love on their arms!
So I started including “TWLOHA” cards and donating to the organization.
Earlier this year, when I ordered more bracelets from Nashelle, they came without the “Be The Good” card. I was disappointed - the message is just as important as the bracelet.
Luckily I had recently met a woman (when I gave her daughter, Miss Ellie, a bracelet for her birthday) who does her own beautiful calligraphy - Lizzy Russinko (thisunscriptedlife.com/unscriptedliving/) I asked Lizzy if she could make a card for me, and this is what she came up with →
I can’t tell you how thrilled and excited I was. It’s perfect, it’s beautiful, and I couldn’t have been happier. Lizzy gave me an 11x14 print and she sells prints of different sizes on her web site (here - read what she says about the creation of the piece).
On the back of the print, and now on the cards, is this →
She also uses the proceeds from the sale of the prints to help fund her “Unscripted Hugs” program (thisunscriptedlife.com/unscriptedhugs/).
Again, I’m ecstatic. One more thing that delighted me was to see this on Facebook. The print made in Jackie’s honor had made it to Indonesia!
The message posted with the picture said: “Yesterday I spent hours with someone who has dedicated their life to serving others in some of the most dangerous, impoverished, and disenfranchised regions in the world. I asked one simple question, "Why do you do it?" [They] replied, "I do it for the one life you get to save". I’m sure that hundreds of lives have been saved by this one person.”
For the one life! Truly being the good in the world. And when I look at that picture, I can’t help but to think of what Evelyn is looking at - the back of the print with Jackie’s name. It made me cry - with both sadness and joy.
So that’s the story… It’s simply about love - love lost and love made stronger. It’s about kindness and compassion, and it’s about seeing, being, sharing, and inspiring the good in the world, even if in a very small way.
With Love and Gratitude,
Love is the only sane and satisfactory answer
to the problem of human existence.
-- Erich Fromm
It is love, not reason,
that is stronger than death.
-- Thomas Mann
This is the true measure of love
When we believe that we alone can love
That no one could ever have loved so before us
And that no one will ever love in the same way after us.
-- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe