The Mighty Logo

9 Acts of Kindness That Have Brought Me Joy in the Midst of Pain

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

Today I’d like to take some time to celebrate the unsung heroes who exist in our ordinary lives; those who sacrifice a portion of their lives to support someone struggling with an illness or difficulty.

Kindness is a rare human trait these days, yet I believe these simple, sincere acts are what we will remember with fondness for the rest of our lives.

Kindness has power. It is one of the only things with the ability to bring true joy in the midst of pain and suffering  a quiet rebuttal to despair. Kindness is an inspiration to life. Kindness can mean the world to someone in agony. I have been blessed with kind acts throughout my life, from close relations, acquaintances and even strangers. Here are both some big and little things they have done, engraved in my mind for all eternity:

  • Showering me as I huddle on the bathroom floor, immobilized by pain.
  • Blow-drying my hair, feeding me or lifting me up when my joints are too swollen to bend or stand.
  • Jumping out of bed at 3 a.m. and insisting on accompanying me to the hospital during a major flare or heart palpitation episode, then heading off to work right after without complaint.
  • Napping in a hard, tiny chair overnight at the hospital, just to assist me with simple chores I am momentarily unable to do, such as pouring a glass of water.
  • Staying up late into the night just to massage my swollen muscles or comfort me while I beg for help.
  • Helping out with work projects I took up thinking they would be easy to do, yet could not complete due to indescribable fatigue or pain.
  • Washing my hair with a small bowl of water as I sat in a chair a day after heart surgery, knowing it would grant me simple pleasure.
  • Throwing surprise birthday parties over the years when I was too sick to leave the house. Also for presenting the most thoughtful gifts ever, and not giving a damn that I was clad in my pajamas.
  • And most importantly, for treating me like a normal person, and having faith that I will be better tomorrow.

These are just a small selection of what these heroes do in silence day in and out, with nary a grudge or complaint. The biggest acts are always the small, consistent ones.

A curious question to those who also suffer from a chronic illness — are these situations similar to yours, and what are some other acts that you are and will forever be grateful for?

Follow this journey on A Chronic Voice.

The Mighty is asking its readers the following: Write a thank you letter to someone you realize you don’t thank enough. If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to Please include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio. Check out our Submit a Story page for more about our submission guidelines.

Lead photo source: Thinkstock Images

Originally published: February 4, 2016
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home