One of the things I did over and over again in the first few weeks after Kevin’s death was read and re-read his FaceBook wall and the comments section in the Salem Evening News. I was comforted by the love expressed by his friends and I was so proud of the young man who they all knew and loved.
I was especially touched by a couple of anonymous posts by some of his friends from Middle School who talked about how he stood up for them, how he reached out to those who needed a friend. It made me so proud that at such a difficult age, he was willing to take this kind of chance. He was special.
Anyone who really knew him knew that Kevin was a true friend. He took that responsibility seriously.
As time has passed we have begun to give some thought to how to honor Kevin’s life and keep his memory alive. I have a simple way for anyone who would like to take part in it.
Do something kind. Help a friend who is going through a rough patch. Let the car in the left lane who wants to get over cut in front of you. Wait patiently for the elderly woman who is working her way across the crosswalk. If you’re a pedestrian, walk with her, help her with her bags.
If someone drops something, pick it up and hand it back to them. Hold the door. Give up your seat on the subway to someone else who needs it. Volunteer at a soup kitchen or church.
If you see some trash out in the street, pick it up and throw it away (you know how much he hated a mess). Don’t complain about some family obligation that takes you away from some party or workout or whatever. Just enjoy the company.
Just maybe it will become a habit. I personally have dropped more than 90% of my personal cynicism (the remaining 10% is for the politicians, media and the like).
Now this is important. Every time you do something kind, or nice, or good or helpful think to yourself “That was for you Kev”.
That’s all it takes.
At Kevin’s funeral I spoke about keeping his legacy alive. I asked you to expand his ripples so that his influence would continue to grow. I can’t think of an easier or better way to accomplish that. It’s not about the grand gesture. It’s about the simple little things that can make someone feel special, or help make the world a better place.
Do it for Kev. He’ll know.