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WRITE TEAM: Help spread acts of kindness

May is here and spring weather has finally arrived. It’s time to reseed the lawn and repair the fence. And it’s time for planting.

Thirty-plus years ago, we planted a crabapple tree in our front yard. The most beautiful flowers bloom on it every year at this time and I look forward to their arrival.

But the window of time to enjoy the blossoms is very short, even under the best weather conditions. The delicate flowers aren’t with us for very long. The wind picks up or rain showers blow in, and the petals end up strewn about the yard. I hold my breath when they appear, determined to enjoy them for whatever time we get.

Eleven years ago, our first grandson, Hunter, was photographed in our front yard as a surprise gift for our daughter’s first Mother’s Day. The weather was excellent and the crab tree was full of blossoms. I remember how he looked up at the swaying branches and blooms. The pictures from that evening were perfect.

I didn’t know it then, but that was the most innocent and pure time I would ever experience.

On May 16, 2008, Hunter passed away from SIDS at the age of 5 months. Just days after Mother’s Day, one week after those pictures were taken, our world turned upside down.

Hunter was with us briefly, but the shortness of time doesn’t diminish his light or the importance of his life. He taught me that tomorrow is promised to no one, and we need to make the most of today and do as much good as possible.

So I still look for the crabapple blossoms every spring on that old and scraggly tree, and when they bloom, I remember his face. I take pictures of his brother and sister under the tree and we feel connected.

And I’m inspired me to do more planting. Flowers and shrubs, yes, but also something more. Planting kindness through Hunter’s Hope.

Our family sponsors a project called Hunter’s Hope and we need you. Celebrate Hunter’s life with acts of kindness today, May 16, or any time this month. Help us remember him as well as your own loved ones by doing for others.

Last year we were amazed by the wonderful things people did. Both spontaneous and planned, people took the time to do something special and thoughtful for someone else. It was so heartwarming to hear on social media about all the creative ideas and kindnesses around the country by friends and strangers alike. The support was phenomenal.

One thing I’m doing this year is planting perennials in Lyons Garden at Lincoln School. I am retiring from the library in June, and I want to spruce up the garden area, leaving a bit of beauty behind. From Hunter and me, to honor and remember everyone who has passed through and those yet to come.

As well as those who left too soon. But their beauty remains within us as long as we remember and honor them. Innocent and pure as crabapple blossoms.

Please join us and do some planting this spring. Planting seeds. Planting kindness.

KAREN ROTH, of Ottawa, is a semi-retired, original member of the Write Team. She can be reached at

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