In A Sea of Grief, Kindness Became My Life Jacket

I was honored to be approached by The Kindness Blog to write an article about the ways in which kindness has affected my life…this is the story I submitted.

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-year-old husband, dead from a head injury at work, leaving me a 29-year-old widow and the single parent of our 2-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, 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 when 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 caregiving, 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!

 “Be a rainbow in someone else’s cloud.” Maya Angelou

How have you shown kindness?  Have you been a rainbow in someone else’s cloud?  I would love to hear how!

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This entry was posted in death, Friends, Grief, grieving, growth, Healing, Inspiration, Lessons from others, My story, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to In A Sea of Grief, Kindness Became My Life Jacket

  1. So sweet. So heartfelt. So glad you’ve found the path of kindness, even though you had to give up so much to get there. Your husband would be proud of you, I’m sure.

    • Greet Grief says:

      Yes, I think Chris would be proud, and I am too! Proud that I didn’t get swallowed up by sadness – I do believe it is a conscious choice and that it requires many strong souls willing to walk with you. Thanks for your kind comment, it warmed my heart!

  2. Deb says:

    Kathy, you are simply amazing. You touch so many people – I know you have touched me with your kindness in so many ways, always there for me – some 20 years. Thank you! Chris would have been amazed by you today. What a journey it has been. So happy to be part of it.

    • Greet Grief says:

      Your comments always make my heart sing and I feel the same about you! So glad I ventured to stop in front of your house to introduce myself to “the new neighbor with the cross necklace on!” God has blessed me with your friendship.

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