Friday, January 12, 2018

With Love for Books Second Anniversary - Guest Post by Terry Tyler


Kindness and Positivity
Guest post by Terry Tyler

Anniek asked me to write a post for the With Love For Books January them of kindness and positivity. Thank you, Anniek and Suze, for inviting me to your blog!

At first I wasn't sure what to write, as my blog posts tend to be more 'tell it like it is' than happy-clappy, and I was wary of sounding preachy, or being guilty of 'virtue signalling'. So I had a bit of a think, and this is what I came up with.

In September last year, my father died. The church was packed out for his funeral and my brother, sister and I received so many cards saying how much he will be missed. The word we kept reading, over and over again, was 'gentleman'. Because that's what Dad was. Not just in his manner and general way of dealing with people—he was a very kind, generous and thoughtful person, but quietly; he never sought pats on the back.

When I was a teenager he started work as a volunteer for the Samaritans, in his spare time from his highly demanding job. Eventually, he ran the local centre. Later, I would discover, and am still discovering, the good he did for others. For instance, in the 1990s he owned a joinery firm. One lad who worked for him was a bit hard up, with a wife and young baby. Dad lent him his own car to take his family on holiday. He didn't tell me about this; his secretary did. Even in his eighties he played an active part in his village community, and would drive older residents to hospital or the doctor’s, if they were unable to drive themselves, and to save them taking taxis or waiting for ambulances.

Right up until he died, at the age of eighty-eight, he took part in the administration of the Royal British Legion's poppy appeal every year. Both the Legion and the Royal Engineers provided a guard of honour and standard bearers at the funeral. Dad hated fuss, but I think he would have appreciated that.

Since Dad died, my sister and I have made a quiet resolution to be more like him—to carry on as he would have done, I suppose, and just try to be more considerate in general. I used to be good at remembering to send cards to people; not just birthdays, but good luck, sympathy and thank you cards, etc; in the last ten years or so I've become lax about this, but I've vowed to make more effort from now on.


When the father of someone I am close to died, Dad sent a long letter of condolence to the family. He had never met them, but they were hugely touched by this, and all the family talked about the lovely letter my dad had written. This sort of thing may seem outdated now, in a time when so many just write 'sorry for your loss' on Facebook or, worse still, post a sad face emoji, but it means a great deal more.

Sending a card costs little money and effort, and of course so many of us have got out of the habit of using 'snail mail', but a hand-written message lasts much longer than that Facebook comment. In the time it takes to take and post a selfie, you could instead write someone a ‘get well soon’ card; for some years now I've kept a stock of cards in a drawer, with stamps, so it's easy to find a suitable one in a hurry - a good tip!

Twenty-one years ago I had a very bad time when I broke up with my live-in boyfriend. During the first couple of weeks, two people sent me cards telling me that they were thinking of me, and reminding me that life would get better. One was a friend of a friend who I hardly knew, the other a cousin I scarcely saw. Both these cards made that day bearable instead of awful; I still remember the feeling.

I will never be as unselfish as Dad was, but I have vowed that, from now on, I will write that letter or send that card, or, if I don't have an address, send an email. It's so easy not get round to it, but this small gesture could make all the difference to someone who is having a bad time. You have it in your power to make a person’s day that bit happier. Like Dad did for so many people, and like the friend of a friend and the cousin did for me.

Happy New Year!

About Terry Tyler


Terry Tyler is a writer with sixteen books on Amazon. Her latest three are part of her new post-apocalyptic series; ‘UK2’, the third novel in the trilogy, will be available in the spring. She is proud to be self-published, and writes many blog posts about writing and self- or indie publishing in general, as well as being an avid reader and book reviewer; she is part of Rosie Amber's reviewing team.

Terry is a recently converted vegan, loves The Walking Dead, Netflix, winter, history, South Park and the countryside. She lives with her husband in the North East of England.

Links

Twitter | Goodreads | Website | Blog | Amazon UK | Amazon USA

21 comments:

  1. about the loss of your dad last year. He sounds like a very special man. It's lovely that you want to carry on in his footsteps. I do try to be kind and thoughtful but am not good with mail. I do send small gifts if sad thing happen. I hope you can look back and say how thoughtful you are x

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    1. Thanks, Tanya ~ and I think we all do bits but not as much as we would like to! I tried to practice what I've just (tried not to) preach by sending an email to someone who's having problems, this morning - I wasn't going to bother (because I am basically a selfish git, I suppose!), but then I remembered this article and what my sister and I had said we'd do. Thanks for reading ! x

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  2. Your father sounds such a lovely gentle man, Terry. Someone remarked on Facebook recently how sad they were at the unkindness of a "friend." This made me think about being more actively kind, so I offered to help an acquaintance who lives alone and has been unwell. She didn't need any help but seemed to appreciate my message so I sent her a small bunch of flowers which she really appreciated. Perhaps we can all try to make this a year of kindness.

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    1. That's nice, Liz! It's funny, but Dad was quite distant when I was a child and growing up; very much the Victorian father, because of his military and boarding school background, I suppose. Which is why, I think, I didn't realise what a good egg he was until I was older. And he softened so much in old age.

      I know, it's the thought, isn't it... doesn't have to be much x

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  3. Well said, Terry - and if I can be half as good as person as our dad was, I shall have done well, I reckon. Charity begins at home - rather than 'liking' various FB posts about reported iniquities, (clictivist, I believe the word is, and well coined it is), help out a neighbour or volunteer for your local food bank.

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    1. I have started to quite enjoy finding good stuff to put into Morrissons food bank box! Don't get me started on clicktivism...

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  4. Thanks for sharing this loveliness.

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  5. Very touching. I’d like to try the card thing too.

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    1. So easy to do if you just buy a pile of nice cards the next time you're in your favourite card shop - it makes life so much easier. And the stamps!!!!

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  6. What a lovely post. A great way to remember your dad.

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  7. A lovely post, Terry. The ease of social media as our main way of communicating with the world has certainly contributed to a less empathic nation. I love receiving letters and cards. Out of the blue I got a Happy 2018 card from someone thanking me for my support over the previous year. I was so touched. That connection with 'real life' can make such a difference. Big hugs to you and your family xx

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    1. I couldn't agree more! A quick 'like' and stuff is forgotten, literally five seconds later. Something I like to do now and again (I should do it more!) is just send a present for no reason, when I see something I know someone would love. My friend Sharon does it; she'll send me a book that she knows I'll find funny. But yes, let us make this year the year of snail mail! Love to yours too xx

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  8. A great reminder to us all to, humans have been around a lot longer than the internet and it is the human touch, the face-to-face, the actual talking and doing that we are allowing to slip away, then mourning its loss.

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    1. YES!!! And it's so easy to take part in letting it slipping away. Since Dad died I've written so many long-hand letters to his friends who couldn't make the funeral simply because they were too old, and the few who slipped through our original net and sent him Christmas cards; I wrote long hand (even bought some proper writing paper!) because that's what that generation expect, and it's been rather nice to get proper letters back, through the post. I used to write letters all the time, before the internet. This year, I vow to write at least one a month - there - I've said it!

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  9. A lovely post, Terry. And love the idea of presents and snail mail. We should also try to revive letter writing in this day and age of quick messages. Perhaps one day a week off the Internet might do it?

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    1. Ha ha - that ain't never going to happen! :)

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  10. This was really lovely to read, Terry! I completely agree! I think genuineness and warmth is so important - it's easy to rattle off a formulaic condolence but taking time to write more (even if by e-mail) make so much more impact. I was thinking the same about sending flowers (or whatever the person would enjoy most) to people who are going through tough times. Just that gesture can make a huge difference to their day and even their week or year! I've been through a lot and I know what it's like to get a kind, truly sympathetic, encouraging message, in whatever format. Keep it up and thanks for encouraging us to do the same! I hope it's a movement that spreads far and wide! xx

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    1. Thanks a lot for reading, Mary! I think it's the actually DOING it rather than just thinking about it thing... and I've also vowed not to forget ANYONE'S birthday this year!! x

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