Linda Ellefson spends three to four hours every day at Covenant Health’s St. Michael’s Health Centre in Lethbridge visiting her husband, Bryan, who is a long-term care resident there. Through her visits, Linda has become a familiar face in the facility and built friendships with many of the residents.
“I’ve learned so much from being around the residents and the strength that they have just to be present every day,” says Linda.
Inspired by the residents, Linda wanted to do something special to shine her light on the community at St. Michael’s. November 5, a day recognized in Canada as Random Acts of Kindness Day, proved the perfect day to do just that.
As her random act of kindness, Linda brought flowers from the flower shop where she works – something she used to do regularly before the COVID-19 pandemic began – and delivered them with her husband to the residents of St. Michael’s to brighten their friends’ day.
The experience brought smiles and tears to the faces of those who received flowers, and joy to Linda who felt grateful for the chance to connect with the residents she has grown to admire.
“That was such a gift to us because it was a connection for the residents of not just the beauty of the flowers, but of human touch,” says Linda. “I mean that in a metaphorical way, too. When we touch, we’re seen. That’s a way of blessing each other.”
The flowers weren’t the only way Linda spread kindness that day. By participating in Random Act of Kindness Day, Linda had an opportunity to nominate a charity of her choice for a chance to receive a $500 grant from the Community Foundation of Lethbridge and Southwest Alberta. Linda nominated Covenant Foundation and we were fortunate to receive the grant, which will further compassionate care for residents at St. Michael’s.
St. Michael’s provides compassionate long-term care, supportive living, palliative care and support for complex mental health through a range of programs including a post-acute rehabilitation program, recreation therapy, seniors’ day programs, social work and spiritual care. By ensuring personal choice, dignity and respect in care, St. Michael’s supports patients and residents in the Covenant legacy of healing the body, enriching the mind, and nurturing the soul.
Linda is grateful to see her small act of kindness have a larger-than-expected impact on the community at St. Michael’s, saying, “To have the gift recognized so it spreads even further, that’s because of the support of the foundation and that’s wonderful.”
It’s the small acts of kindness that have the greatest impact and each person has the power to change the world in their own way, believes Linda.
She says, “We just need to pause and nourish the gifts that are in each one of us, and just receive that and share it.” She continues, “It’s those kinds of moments that can change the world. It’s not the big sweeping things, it’s what we do when we celebrate and shine light on the ordinary moments of love.”
Linda says she will continue bringing flowers to her friends at St. Michael’s, explaining, “That’s just a gift I want to give. I just want to shine light back on that community that lives there.”
For those considering performing their own act of kindness, Linda says, “Just do it. Share your gift of touch and shine your light in your sharing with others.” She explains, “When we root ourselves in hospitality and love, we can mend the part of the world that’s within our reach. We can’t cure the whole world, but by doing some of this, we can mend that part of the world that we see and we touch.”
To learn how you, in your own way, can help change your part of the world and support patients and residents in Covenant facilities like St. Michael’s Health Centre, visit our community fundraiser page.
Written by: Kate Dawson