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The relationship you have with the world is just like any other relationship. Every now and again, even if it’s pissed you off for no good reason, you have to look it in the eyes and say: I love you.

10 years ago I married a man, who I met as a boy, who died as a hero.


As I’ve stated before, the day Michael was killed in Iraq wasn’t the toughest. I don’t define his life by his death.

But our wedding anniversary, now that was a tough one. Although I didn’t define his life by his death, I did define it by the love he showed me and countless others…and struggled in the first few years on how to handle this day.

In the past, I’ve done random acts of kindness which changed the “sails” in observing such an occasion, but I awoke at 6 am this morning thinking about what else I could do that honors such a love from such a soul in a way authentic to us both.

Giving a random stranger a bouquet of flowers or a gift card or a hug had worked in the past, but I wanted to kick it up a notch.

I wanted people to be reminded of how great they are, the same way that Michael had reminded me (before and after death).

He saw the best in me when I couldn’t and has been the inspiration behind some of the biggest leaps I’ve taken in life.

He showed me that anything was possible and that life is too short to forget that fact.

Reminiscing on his encouragement and love, I created these notes:


But not only that, I wanted to make sure that whoever I gave these notes too could give something to someone else to brighten their day….and if their is anything that I’ve learned it’s that a joy shared is a joy tripled….and I set the goal to know that their would be at least a 10 person trickle of happiness and love).

As they printed out, I stepped outside to see a dense fog and smiled….I knew that like my life since his passing, the fog would lift and today would be magical (and it did not disappoint).


I should have prefaced this with the fact that I also woke up with the nastiest cold known to man….I’m talking bad bad….so it took me a while to get out the door (and lots of Afrin and DayQuil), but I typed up a gameplay of locations and goals and set out


Locale # 1 Ross…

unnamed-9I love Ross. It’s super affordable, everyone that works there is so nice, and I never get weird glances for buying that $1 item that may or may not have a hole/be expired/explode 😉

I was warming up, had this shirt on…and was ready to remind people of their awesomeness!unnamed-3

I went up and asked to buy two gift cards. The girl, who looked like she may have the same cold, told me about how busy it was and pointed out the Christmas Decorated gift cards she thought I may like. When she handed them over with the receipt I pulled out my handy folder of notes, paperclipped the gift cards, asked her to give them to two families who she thought may need a little brightening, then presented her with a monetary donation for her good deeds 🙂

She didn’t know what to do! But said “Thank you!” and later went on to post this on Instagram under the hashtag (#swwr (someone who was reminded)). I read it when I got home and did a happy dance.


Next stop, Salvation Army. But in between the drive the good tunes were a flowing, like Michael had become the DJ….case in point:


#2- Now I love Ross….but do I LOVE Salvation Army. My whole wardrobe is from there and they basically know me by name!


They don’t do Gift Cards, so I just put 3 money cards together, found a great sweater for $3 and headed to checkout. I handed the lady one for herself and two others to give to the next two customers.

She was stunned. Like really, stunned….She called her manager over to see if it was ok and he said he’d never had it happen (which needs to change) and told her it was ok. She got the biggest smile on her face and just kept saying “bless you.”…..she was the one that blessed me!

Next stop (#3), another favorite, Alamo Drafthouse cinema.



I nice pink-haired dude who worked at the counter started chatting with me about “Star Wars” which led to me talking about “Creed” (which everyone should see) and then on to the disappointment that was “Mockingjay”. Finally I got to the part of asking to buy 3 gift cards, which I then asked if I could put him on a mission to distribute them out to those needed some extra cheer. Mission accepted and I gave him a little gift too for his work.


At this point the cold medicine is waring off, my eyes are getting glazed over, but love conquers all…..even evil colds!

What it didn’t conquer was my full bladder… the plans changed and I ended up in a nearby Marshall’s (Ross’ Big Brother). I’m fading fast but use my restroom break to spread some love (sorry, should have dried the counters but I was in a hurry to get out before anyone saw me).


Afterwards, I headed up to see a young girl asking if she could take a break (her shift ended at 1am) after she rung me up….score!

I asked how she was feeling, chit chatted, paid the amount then handed her this note with a little treat. Her reaction:

“What!!!???? What!!???” really loud and I just strolled out, kind of like this (minus Antonio), but with joy exploding in the background.3ffd9ae95e40650d79eaed6889dee844.gif

On the way through the parking lot I placed the notes on random cars and finally headed home to write this update before the anniversary ends.


The day ended with me knowing that I brightened a couple of people’s day, but from those few people that I interacted with, they brightened twice if not quadruple the amount of people….and that is what Michael’s life and love did.

Michael’s love is a light in my world, but from that love he has touched so many more others…and that is what I choose to remember today, and everyday.

4 Comments Post a comment
  1. I love you❤️ I will forever be grateful for meeting you. You helped me grow in my widowhood. I hope one day I can touch just one person, one family, one widow, the you have for many. Thank you for being a guiding light. Happy anniversary and Merry Christmas.

  2. No matter what this busy life has me bending over backwards to keep up, I always pause to read your posts. A breath of fresh air and calm amongst a chaotic world. Thank you for being such a beautiful soul – Michael and his memory could not be honored any more gracefully and completely.

  3. Taryn, it’s amazing what grief pulls out of us. I believe both of our loves are watching us perform these acts of kindness with glee. It makes me feel good to do this. Good for us!

  4. Steve Austin #

    I don’t know if you remember me from Camp Widow San Diego ,but thanks. I did 13 Random Acts of kindness on what would have been my 13th anniversary on Nov. 30. I started a thread on Widowed Village on it. I was in the field that day for work and went out to eat. I asked the waitress to pick someone at random and I would pay the bill. The person she picked was a widowed man who was down on his luck. We spoke for a while and he thanked me. I will do 14 on November 30. Perhaps I will see you again in San Diego.


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