Kindness Takes Flight

Drew Boswell

March is SUDC Awareness Month, and this week we celebrate Kindness Week, where we ask all SUDC supporters to join us in remembering those lost to SUDC by performing a Random Act of Kindness in their memories.

Entering this week, I was reflecting on kindness and how it has impacted my life since losing my son, Drew, on March 12, 2014. When I gathered my thoughts, I realized kindness was the catalyst for so many different aspects of my continuing process of healing.

After experiencing the loss of a seemingly healthy child and the accompanying searing pain, it seems that I have developed a “spidey-sense” when it comes to my interactions with people. Early in my journey I worked hard to focus on the good in others no matter how mundane the interaction was. The alternative was to focus on the negativity I encountered which would only make the weight of grief I was carrying each day heavier. This is something I still strive for and some days are better than others.

Looking back on the last seven years, I can think of countless examples of kindness impacting me and helping me heal my broken heart, for example:
• My neighbors who rallied behind us since that first awful day, bringing food for weeks, attending events, and giving much-needed hugs (when hugs were allowed!) and other support whenever we needed them
• The dedication of my children’s doctor who took all my calls and answered my numerous questions with patience, kindness and empathy when treating my subsequent children, Emmaline and Joseph
• The love and kindness of friends who have supported us over the years in countless ways

Drew’s brother, Joseph, meets a pilot also named “Drew.”

We try to do exciting things together as a family. Despite our gratitude for the life we now have, my husband and I are always acutely aware that one of our children is missing. After experiencing one of the worst things a family can go through, we feel fortunate to have had our eyes opened to how amazingly good people can be.

One recent example of kindness sprung from a chance meeting with a pilot, who knew nothing about us or Drew. We were all sitting in the New Orleans airport waiting to take the kids on a trip to Utah. My youngest son, two-year-old Joseph, out of nowhere started bellowing, “ARRRRR, PIRATE!”

As I turned around, there was a distinguished looking pilot with a kind face smiling at Joseph. I said, “Joseph, it’s a pilot! He flies airplanes!” Joseph seemed amazed and toddled up to the kind man, still keeping his distance. The pilot said, “Joseph, would you like to wear my hat?” Joseph was not interested in the hat and the pilot started digging in his bag for something. After a little bit he said, “I only have two pairs of wings left, they must be meant for you two [handing them to Joseph and Emmaline].”

That’s when I saw this stranger’s name tag: Drew. I turned to my husband, and said, “Dev, his name is Drew.” Almost instantaneously, the pilot was paged and quickly said his goodbyes. We were overcome with emotion and the kids were none the wiser. Without saying it, we both realized that this gesture of kindness had to have been sent our way from our beloved Drew. I looked at my husband and said, “We are going to be ok.” He softly replied: “I know.”

Then Joseph tried to sprint away from us like a tiny Olympian and normal life resumed. Once again, kindness had reminded us that life is precious and that Drew is always with us and loving us.

This piece was lovingly written by Georgia Boswell in memory of her son Drew. Drew inspired the SUDC Foundation’s nationwide effort for every state in the U.S. to declare March as SUDC Awareness Month through a statewide proclamation. The Boswell family successfully advocated for the first statewide proclamation declaring March 2015 as SUDC Awareness Month in the State of Louisiana.