Living far away, the mother of a boy who died suddenly four decades ago was unable to visit his grave on what would have been his 41st birthday. Heartbroken, she confided in her family that she wished someone could place flowers on his grave.
Luckily, with the help of social media, her daughter made it happen.
Pamela Lund, 75, a retired therapist from New South Wales, Australia, lost her son Mathew Owen Bird to sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Mathew was born on Oct. 8, 1980, and died on May 3, 1981. He was buried in Nowra—2 hours south of Sydney—where they lived and where Pamela’s late husband was stationed at the Naval base.
Today, Pamela lives roughly 10 hours’ drive from Nowra in the small town of Woolgoolga and it has been years since she could visit Mathew’s grave.
“On the day of my son’s 41st birthday, I posted [in a family chat group] that I wished I could place a flower on Mathew’s grave,” Pamela explained to The Epoch Times. “Unbeknown to me, my youngest daughter, Sally Hutchison, a local paramedic, posted in a private Facebook group: Paramedic Good Karma Network.”
The local paramedic group, according to Pamela, was set up during the pandemic to help other paramedics out when they couldn’t travel.
Not long after Pamela put forward her request, her daughter got in touch with her and informed her that she had organized the flowers and a paramedic in Nowra had come forward to help place the flowers on Mathew’s grave.
The kind stranger, Stuart Bradshaw, took photos of a beautiful bouquet of blue flowers laying on Mathew’s resting place and sent them to Pamela. The grieving mom was overcome with gratitude by both her daughter’s and Stuart’s kindness and got in touch with him to say thank you.
“He was very unassuming and just happy to have helped,” she said.
Pamela shared her story, and its resolution, on a Facebook page—The Kindness Pandemic—and was once again overcome by the outpouring of love and empathy from strangers.
“There were so many lovely comments that I was unable to keep up with my responses to them,” she said. “It touched so many hearts, especially those who had lost children of their own.
“It was also surprising that so many people took the time to read and comment on the words on his plaque,” she continued, “including the widow of the man who made it 40 years ago.”
After conversations in the comments section shifted toward wanting to pay it forward, one netizen, Anne Kent-Jones, started a new Facebook group—Flowers for Loved Ones—so that people could request someone else to place flowers on their behalf.
Pamela is all too aware of the enduring pain of losing a loved one. “There was little known of ‘cot death’ back then,” she reflected, giving thanks for the grief counseling and support groups that help people today. “I want those who are new to the loss of a child to know that you never ‘get over it,’ you will carry them in your heart forever.
“Part of you dies,” she continued, “but eventually, you will build a ‘new normal,’ so just hang in there.”
After being on the receiving end of kindness, Pamela urged others to “keep doing acts of kindness for yourself, even if you feel like giving up.”
Hers, she admits, is only one story of kindness among so many, especially in the helping professions, and firmly believes, “one little act of kindness can virtually change peoples lives.”