Guest Post – Naomi’s Notes – Kindness

Photo by Eugene Chystiakov on Unsplash

Hi, my name is Naomi Lees, I work at Edmund Hillary School in Papakura. I met Dr James Jap a few years ago when he came to a meeting at school. I have really enjoyed Palliverse posts.  When James asked recently who would help I said I would and did nothing about it for six weeks except for the occasional pang of guilt for not doing what I said I would do.

I looked after my parents in the last two years before they died. These posts will contain some of what I learned.

So here is the first of my contributions:

Looking for Kindness

When I was at school  I was out on duty in the playground making sure the kids were safe in the playground.  Then two little girls came up to me and  one of the girls was new to the school and she was 5.  The new girl was crying loudly.   So I gave her a cuddle and asked her what was wrong  and she said to me.

“Oooh I’ve lost my friend.”

“Don’t worry,” I said, “I’ll help you to find her.”   

“What is her name?”

More tears then she said, “I don’t know.”

Then I said, “what does she look like?”

More tears then she said ………”She looks KIND.”

Bianca the other little girl who is 8, looked at me and we both smiled then I said very gently to her that Bianca knew all the kind girls so if she held Bianca’s hand and walked with her I am sure they would find her friend. Off they went in search of Kindness!

Little did I know that I would be doing just that looking for kindness when my mother’s health was in need of palliative care.  My mother had come from Samoa to NZ in the hope of a better life and education for her nine children.  She worked hard all her life, lived very simply, and did her best.   Now she was facing the end of her life and in her typical organised fashion, she started to make preparations.

“Okay” she said to me the next morning when we woke up.   (I slept with her because I didn’t want her to die alone in her sleep).  

“Now get an exercise book and I want you to write down what I’m telling you”.  


“I want all of my children to speak at the funeral. The order is to go from oldest to the youngest except for you I want you to speak last.

It is to be short and to the point none of this on and on.  If it’s too long I will knock on the coffin!

I want you to ride with me in the funeral car.

I will tell Henry to make my traditional Samoan dress.

When I die I want you to have some choir practice and sing these two Samoan hymns for the funeral service.   Make sure you practise!

Have the service quickly, no longer than two days after I’m gone. 

Bury me at the same plot as your father. We made provision for that when he died.

Organise a family meeting so I can tell them myself what I want and they can ask questions while I’m alive.  Make it soon. I don’t know how much time I have.

That’s enough for now I’m tired”.

I put down the pen and arranged her pillow so she was comfortable and as I held her hand I realised this was a different level of kindness.

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