September 13, 2019
THE KINDNESS OF STRANGERS
One thing I’ve always said about being a massage therapist, is that some days a client/patient is brought to me because they need me. Others days they’re brought to me because I need them. This story is about a young woman who was brought to me because I feel I needed her.
So for many years, I was part of a small group of massage therapists, who would give massages to students at a local University during their exam weeks twice a year. We would go in December and May, at the end of the fall and spring semesters. I was privileged to be asked to go because my former massage instructor, Karen, had a contract with the University to do this. I would go anytime it would fit into my normal work schedule.
This particular year, four of us were set up in our designated area in the student center, to give massages to interested students. For a massage, a student would just lay on the table clothed, as you would for a chair massage. It was always a great turnout! It was the first time I worked with the massage therapist, Roxanne, set up next to me, So our conversations that day included the usual questions you ask a person to get acquainted with them.
So that day, a lovely student named Mary got onto my table. I don’t remember her and I talking very much during our session. But later I would discover that she was an excellent listener. As Roxanne and I began our massages, we began to chat since the sessions were very casual. She shared that she had a young son about two years old. So when she asked me if I had any children, I shared that my older son Joey died when he was twenty, and that my younger son Jeremy was thirty, One thing lead to another, and she voiced her opinion as to how difficult celebrating the holidays, especially the upcoming Christmas holiday, without Joey, must be. For those of you who have not read my book, I will share my story that I shared with her that day.
My son Joey passed away in June, 2000, so I was worried that I would not be able to emotionally, put a Christmas tree up that December. Yet I knew I would have to force myself, because my younger son Jeremy was only fifteen, and I knew I had to do it for him. So thankfully, my cousin Denise suggested we decorate our tree in honor of Joey. So that’s when our new tradition started. As a family, we chose the colors green and purple. Green was Joey’s favorite color, and purple was significant for him also. The first tree was simple: handmade green and purple bows; magenta lights which were the closest we could get to purple; and purple angel garland. Over the years after hearing our story about our tree in memory of Joey, many close family members and friends have given us many beautiful ornaments which now adorn our tree.
So a few days after our visit to the University, Karen calls me for my email and home address for a student I had massaged. I vaguely remember her telling me that the student wanted to send me a thank you note. At the time, I thought that was sweet, but later forgot about it. About a week later, I received a small package from this student, Mary, It contained a lovely thank you note and a beautiful purple ornament for our special Christmas tree, She hadn’t said much that day during her massage, but she definitely had listened to my conversation with Roxanne. I cried when I opened up her gift that day, but they were tears of joy. Mary may never know what her selfless act of kindness meant to me and my family, but she will always be in my thoughts and prayers. I will always hope she has a happy, healthy and successful life, because she is certainly a one of a kind, special young woman.
So hear are her beautiful words she enclosed with the ornament.
THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR THE WONDERFUL MASSAGE! WHEN YOU WERE WORKING ON ME YOU WERE TALKING ABOUT YOUR SON AND IT TOUCHED MY HEART SO VERY MUCH. YOU HAVE A GREAT OUTLOOK AND I CAN’T EVEN IMAGINE THAT SITUATION. i HOPE YOU AND YOUR FAMILY HAVE A WONDERFUL HOLIDAY SEASON. MARY