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My Thanksgiving Message of Kindness and Tragedy

This past Saturday was the Raleigh Christmas Parade. I love parades. I go to the parade every year. As many of you know, this year’s parade was very different than any other parade. With much sadness and remorse, I share that this year’s parade was canceled shortly after it began because there was an accident. The brakes of a truck pulling a float failed. Unable to stop, this truck struck a young girl. This girl, and Kira, my middle daughter, were both participating in the parade with the same dance company. The accident happened just in front of Kira. Fortunately, Kira was able to hear the screams to get out of the way as the truck, unable to stop, rolled down the incline past her as the dance company paraded down the street. The young girl who was struck by the truck passed away several hours later. Phone calls and text messages poured into my wife and me. Clients, family, and friends reached out to check in on us. We became aware the news of this accident spread throughout the country as our friends from all over the nation began to reach out to us. My wife and I walked to meet Kira and the rest of her dance company. My daughter, the other dancers, their family members, and parade bystanders were in shock, scared and confused. There were many tears and many consoling embraces as everyone tried to process what happened. Police were everywhere and various news reporters and cameras flooded the area. No one knew the status of the young girl taken away in an ambulance. While I was so relieved to know my daughter was okay, my heart also hurt for the injured young girl, her family, the driver of the truck and all that witnessed this accident. Kira, her boyfriend (who is also a dancer with the same dance company), my wife and I had to walk about one mile to get to our car. Kira and her boyfriend wore their bright fluorescent green parade shirts with the logo of their dance school. So many people stopped us as we made our way to our car just to see if we were okay. We were given hugs. They offered us prayers. These were complete strangers, going out of their way to extend kindness, compassion, and condolences to us. So many people. We talked like old friends to people we never met. These people were genuinely concerned and brave enough to show it. And it made a difference. The following evening was a candlelight vigil. Hundreds gathered together to process what happened and pay respects. Among the sea of candles, flowers and stuffed animals there were soft embraces, tears and sobbing. Many other parents I spoke with that evening were also experiencing incredible sadness for the loss of the family that lost their young daughter mixed with gratitude and relief that our kids were able to come home with us. These kids, friends, parents, and teachers were all there uniquely processing grief, loss and change. In these times, a quiet smile, and comforting embrace, or a reassuring hand on the back let each of us know we were not alone. And it made a difference. We are all so very different. We all have our opinions, ideologies, judgments, and biases. Sometimes it seems we are more divided and isolated than ever… but I think the truth is, we are not. We are much more alike than different. In moments like these, it seems we all become more aware of the connection we share. We all share the bond of being human and the struggle to make some sense of what life presents. Sometimes the simplest act of kindness and the smallest acknowledgment makes all the difference. Thanksgiving approaches. For many, this naturally is a time of introspection as well as a time to review our lives and that for which we are thankful. These recent events have offered many of us a different vantage point to view our lives than we perhaps normally would. This Thanksgiving I am deeply grateful that my three daughters are home for the holiday and safe. I am grateful for all the clients, family and friends that reached out to check on us. I am always so grateful for my office, every client, and that I have the opportunity to try to help people every day. This Thanksgiving I am also so very grateful for kindness. The smallest act of kindness goes a long, long way. A single act of kindness has the power to change someone’s day, even their life. I believe if we all were intentional to do just one more act of kindness today, we could ignite a spark that could influence the world. At a minimum, this one more act of kindness can bring a smile to someone and make a difference in their world. A simple act of kindness makes a difference. I wish you all a happy Thanksgiving. Whatever it is you do, I hope you fully embrace it. Whatever it is you do, I invite you to infuse it with additional kindness. So much to be thankful for.

Article by Quinn Akira Takei, Doctor of Oriental Medicine(NM), Licensed Acupuncturist, Chinese Herbalist, Functional Medicine Practitioner, and Holistic Health & Wellness Coach.
The Center: Natural Health Specialists, 8404 Six Forks Road, Suite 201, Raleigh, NC 27615. (919) 848-0200.

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