When Gratitude, Kindness, Grief, Hope, and Compassion Collide

When Gratitude, Kindness, Grief, Hope, and Compassion Collide

When Gratitude, Kindness, Grief, Hope, and Compassion Collide

When Gratitude, Kindness, Grief, Hope, and Compassion Collide

This article is about what can happen when Gratitude, Kindness, Grief, Hope, and Compassion Collide.

My good friend, Dr. Jerri Eddington, recently posted a message on Facebook about lessons she learned about her short journey with her beautiful first-born son, Shawn. Jerri’s message has profound lessons about love, courage, hope, compassion, grief and more. She agreed to allow me to share her beautiful story. My insights are below.


Here is Jerri’s story:

What Can Happen When You Look For the Good

Lessons I Learned… When I Looked for the Good. There were many Angels who supported me THEN and continue to do so NOW.


Happy 44th Birthday in Heaven to my first-born son, Shawn!


  1. I was a teen mom. Shawn was born when I was 16.5 years old when I was a junior at Central High School in Columbus, Ohio. Teen moms can continue their education.
  2.  Shawn was the FIRST person I received Unconditional Love from.
  3.  Shawn was born anemic. We received supplemental food twice a week from WIC, a federally funded nutrition program for Women, Infants and Children. Shawn received his well-care from the Columbus Health Department.
  4.  We were eligible to get a supplemental rental cost for ONE month and food stamps when Shawn was born. More short term federal help.
  5. I asked my principal if I could come in once a week to get my assignments. My plan was to go to college to become a teacher. My principal arranged for me to have a tutor the ENTIRE first semester. (Usually tutoring ends six weeks after the child is born.) My tutor came to my house and I was able to take care of Shawn while working on my school work.
  6. I returned to school the second semester. I was on track to graduate a year early and to start college the next fall! I was able to skip an entire year of high school.
  7. One of my new teachers refused to let me in her year-long class. She said I would be responsible for all the material. One of my previous teachers agreed to tutor me during his lunch period for the entire semester!
  8. My mother agreed to watch Shawn the entire second semester while I finished high school.
  9. Now it was time to focus on college. Terry and I were married in July before Shawn was born. At the time Terry was making about $90 a week. Since we got married in July, my dad claimed me on his taxes. Financial assistance for college is based on the previous tax year. My dad made $11,000. It was TOO much for me to get any financial assistance for college! I had no clue what I was going to do now! But…I knew I would never give up!
  10. One day the principal announced there would be a meeting in the auditorium for students interested in going to college. The Ohio State University was starting a new program called “Freshman Foundation Program”. The program was a new to help minority students. All interested students were scheduled to have an interview discussing why we wanted to go to college. I was given a needs-based grant for the next year and the entire time I attended The Ohio State University. I found out two years later since my parents were born in Tennessee… I was coded as Appalachian!
  11. I have learned NOT to judge others in situations where I do not know all the circumstances. There is always more to the story.
  12. Because I was given a helping hand many, many times on my journey to becoming a teacher… I have been able to give back in many ways to the students, parents, staff and the communities I served for thirty years.

Thank you Marcus Banks and Jeremy C Banks for continuing to be the JOY in my life. Thank you Terry Banks and Bob Eddington for being “Dads” for our sons. ❤️


“Being in a state of non judgement is key to having a compassionate heart.” ~ Tandy Elisala

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“The giving of love is an education in itself.” ~ Eleanor Roosevelt


I’m sitting with gratitude…

The unconditional love we give and receive from our children is one of the most sacred and precious gifts we are given. Sometimes, the most difficult times in life have the biggest learning opportunities. Grieving a child is certainly high up there.

I’m SO thankful for Jerri and her incredible story. I’m inspired by her strength and resilience. I’m thankful for Jerri’s beautiful baby boy Shawn and the incredible love he showed her. I’m in awe of all the people that surrounded Jerri and helped her in some way along her journey.

I’m certain that everyone that helped Jerri and Shawn along their path took inspired action to help. From the person looking at their applications having an intuitive nudge to approve them for services or scholarships, to the principle and teachers that facilitated various actions to her family for their support, everyone who stepped up had a ripple effect that spread way beyond their actions.   Everyone who helped Jerri helped strengthen her HOPE!

Kindness and Compassion

When we draw from our experiences and give in a compassionate and loving way, we create a ripple effect. ~ Tandy Elisala

Here’s how Jerri has given to me:

As Jerri said in her post, she has been able to give to others as a result of her receiving. In honor of #WorldKindnessWeek and #NationalGratitudeMonth, I’d like to share how Jerri has given to me over the years:

  1. When I was recovering from cancer treatment, Jerri took me to lunch many times. This gave me time outside the house and offered respite for my family.
  2. Jerri paid for my spot in the first #365series book: 365 Ways to Connect to your Soul; which became a #1 International Best-Selling Book. She even gave me a copy of our book when it was released!
  3. As we both released weight, I needed clothes and Jerri graciously gave me quite a few bags of clothes and accessories.
  4. Jerri used her talents and gifts to help heal me several times!
  5. We are both lifelong learners and come from an education background. Jerri gave me several books and passed along magazines and many other things to help me AND my family.
  6. Jerri helped my daughter in several ways.

There’s so much more and I am so thankful for Jerri and our friendship. I believe the Universe conspires to bring the people and circumstances to us for our highest good. Like Jerri, because of everything I’ve been through, I’ve learned not to judge what’s on the surface of things. There is always more to the story. Had Jerri not received the help, compassion, and kindness from her principle, teachers, her mother, the Freshman Foundation Program, the federal government, her ex-husband, and more, her life may have had a very different outcome. Her incredible mindset and tenacity at this young and tender age helped her to continue moving forward; despite what was happening on the surface.

I could say the same for me and my life. I bet the same is true for you in some way!

When we draw from our experiences and give in a compassionate and loving way, we create a ripple effect. Click To Tweet

How are YOU going to pay it forward?

For #WorldKindnessWeek and #NationalGratitudeMonth, I encourage you to pay it forward in some way for someone else. You never know how your single act of kindness and gratitude will create a ripple effect for someone else.

“Remember, you can only feel ONE thing at a time. Do you choose fear or love? When you choose love, gratitude, and compassion, you are increasing the vibration of everyone around you and our planet. THAT’S what I CHOOSE!” ~ Tandy Elisala


To connect with Dr. Jerri, go to her website here: http://www.lightenupandthrive.com/ and sign up for your free audio: Cultivating an Attitude of Gratitude.

♥ Conflict Resolution Expert ♥ Educator ♥ International Best Selling Author ♥ ♥ Soul Coach® ♥ ThetaHealer ♥ JV Ready ♥

My passion is helping others connect to their inner wisdom… on a Soul Level.

As a Soul Success Coach, my goal is to help you uncover the obstacles to your success, freeing you to achieve your personal and career potential. I specialize in “Transforming Limited Beliefs”.  My thirty years in education combined with the integration of various energy/healing modalities, provides customized and individualized service to each client. I facilitate, motivate, consult, and interact with clients to “unlock” the potential within.



Everyone can use a little more hope in life! To get your free Daily Dose of Hope from Tandy, head over here: http://www.tandyelisala.com/dailydoseofhope and be inspired and empowered to live a wholehearted life.

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Tandy Elisala

Family Caregiver Coach, Cancer Empowerment Advocate and Chief Inspiration Officer at Center for Inspiring Greatness | Empowered Family Caregiver
Tandy Elisala is passionate about helping family caregivers go from being overwhelmed and stressed to empowered and calm. Tandy went through cancer four times and learned how to heal using conventional, complementary, and alternative therapy. Tandy left her corporate career to take care of both parents simultaneously while raising three kids as a single mom. She took care of both parents for 2 1/2 years until their respective deaths. Tandy now teaches what she learned on her journey. Tandy is a family caregiver coach, a multiple best-selling author, inspirational speaker and mom to three adult kids, one angel dog and one diva cat.

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49 replies
  1. Dan Teck
    Dan Teck says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this, Tandy. I’m also so inspired by Jerri — by her journey, her perseverance, and by the lessons you both share from these experiences. My love goes out to Jerri and to everyone who knew Shawn, was hurt by his heartbreaking loss, and was touched by his light…and to the many who continue to be!

  2. Joyce Hansen
    Joyce Hansen says:

    It’s wonderful that we remind each other of compassion with wise words.However, when you shared a personal story it means so much more to understand the gifts of human kindness and how they can change the world. I’m grateful for your sharing.

  3. Alene A Geed
    Alene A Geed says:

    Tandy, thank you for sharing this incredible story of inspiration, gratitude, love, giving back… I could go on and on. I think that Jerri was aligned with good from the start. She KNEW that things were going to work out for her and the universe obliged her by bringing the right people and circumstance into her life. And then she took the next step and offered her love, compassion and help to you. We can all be aware of others that need our support.. Pay it Forward is the best way to live.

    • Tandy Elisala
      Tandy Elisala says:

      I agree, Alene. Jerri was aligned with GOOD from the start. She knew that things were going to work out for her and she knew her mission in life was bigger than her circumstances. Paying it forward is indeed the BEST way to live! I appreciate your comments.

    • Jerri Eddington
      Jerri Eddington says:

      Arlene, I love your comments! I remember questioning my mom about good, evil and God when I was 8 years old. I was told not to question God… which only made me question more! YES… I was aligned with Good from the start…. sometimes I took a challenging path. I learned any movement forward… even tiny baby steps… was progress.

  4. Cathy
    Cathy says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this story. It’s hard not to judge, even when we think we’re not being judgmental, little thoughts sneak in. Experience tells us that there is more to everyone’s story than what we know and almost everyone is dealing with something we will never understand. We can’t judge because we don’t have enough information. The best thing we can do is to be compassionate, empathetic, and giving ALL the time. Great post.

  5. Teresa Salhi
    Teresa Salhi says:

    What a beautiful, beautiful story to share with us Tandy. I am so with you in the belief that when we embody gratitude and compassion we are together changing the energy of the planet and impacting lives we don’t even know. Bless you

  6. Reba Linker
    Reba Linker says:

    Wow – such a beautiful post and a heart-warming, true friendship. I feel a contact-high sense of gratitude and overwhelm (in a good way) from your sharing of the many ways both you and Jerri’s lives intertwined and the many helping hands you both (and well – if we recognize it!) received and continue to receive. Just beautiful!

  7. rachel lavern
    rachel lavern says:

    I, too, keep in mind that I don’t know it all when tempted to judge others. We must be willing to admit that we judge others, we judge ourselves, and that these judgments (small or large) impact our lives in negative hurtful ways even when we’re not consciously aware of the judgments.

  8. Beverley Golden
    Beverley Golden says:

    It’s always so interesting to see how people who face challenging life experiences and have support and love from others, take that and embody it into how they are in the world. What a great influence Jerri has been for you and to think it could only have happened the way it did, because of her experiences with her precious son Shawn and all the people who rallied around to help and support her. Kindness and compassion live within us and regardless of the life circumstance, we can call on them and lead with them. Thanks for sharing, Tandy.

  9. Candess M. Campbell, PhD
    Candess M. Campbell, PhD says:

    What an incredible, loving story. So many have had difficult starts in life and so many are not able to transform their experiences in such a beautiful way. Thanks for sharing Jerri’s story and your response. From judgement to compassion is a beautiful share!

    • Tandy Elisala
      Tandy Elisala says:

      From judgment to compassion – that’s a great blog title:-) I agree that many people with difficult starts don’t always have the opportunities Jerri did to transform their experience and become who she is today.

  10. Tamuria
    Tamuria says:

    It was so easy to see the ripple effect of the kindnesses that made it possible for Jerri to help so many others, Tandy. The gratitude she expresses is beautiful and the kindness and compassion shown to her, truly lovely. Something that really impressed me was how she learned not to judge others. Kindness and compassion flow more easily when we are not judging.


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