In a Sea of Grief, KINDNESS Became My Life Jacket
Submitted by Kathy of Grietgrief.com
He didn’t kiss me goodbye in the morning, believing that it was too early (4 a.m.) to wake me up. Who could imagine that later that afternoon, I would be kissing him, in the emergency room of our local hospital and his lips would be cold? My 36 yr. old husband, dead from a head injury at work, leaving me a 29-year-old widow and the single parent of our two-year-old.
Kindness came calling in the form of funeral flowers, arrangements reflecting his love of the outdoors. Stories shared of how he touched friends lives came to me in cards sent and memorials given to support our young child.
I will never forget the primary-colored wood pull-toy that was given to my son by a co-worker during the visitation at the funeral home; the train occupying him so that I could visit. The huge wicker basket of snack foods and toddler treats brought to my home, the chocolate cheese cake that seemed to be the only thing I could slide down my throat in those early days.
Angels came in all shapes and sizes and often wore the faces of those least expected. The most helpful were those who didn’t need to talk, who opened their arms to hold me up and who wiped my tears without needing to “fix me.” The ones who really “got it” were those who came months later, those who acknowledged anniversary dates and his birthday and those not afraid to say Chris’ name.
But the simplest act of kindness came in the form of an open shade and an outdoor light. My neighbor Sally left their light on which faced my bedroom, and left the shade above their kitchen sink up.
She said, “that way you know we are home and that you can call or come over, no matter the time.”
For me the simple, heart-felt, personalized acts of kindness shown to me through family and friends, became my life jacket as I tried to swim through my sea of grief. The impact of these “little things” has stayed with me and sustained me for the last 24 years and whenever anyone else finds themselves walking through grief, I “pay it forward” in many of the same ways!
Having been a nurse, wife and mother – I was the one that did the care-giving, I prided myself in being kind. My time of loss taught me how to be the recipient of many acts of kindness. Kindness that brought sunshine into our darkness, kindness that silently kept hope alive somewhere deep inside.
As the years passed by, as I honored my grief and re-established a new life for myself and my son, it was then that I knew KINDNESS had saved my life!
Nothing prepared me for becoming a 29 yr. old widow and a single parent when my husband of 8 yrs. died in 1990 in a work-related accident. I have spent the years since re-entering life and offering hope to others after loss. My goal is to teach people how to enter into the pain, allow themselves to express whatever emotion arises and to find resources that offer hope in the midst of their darkness. I want YOU to know YOU are NOT alone, there is HELP, there is HOPE!