Well, today is the day that I participate in the bimonthly "One Word Blog Carnival" over at Bridget Chumbley's blog. The word this week is kindness. I find it funny. Why? Because you all have been so kind and supportive to me in the last few months, and especially the weeks since mom died, that I feel like me telling you about kindness is like me telling Pope Benedict XVI about Catholicism: while I may not be unqualified to post on either, it seems inappropriate to share my thoughts on it with those who are more expert than I. Really. You have been there for me in so many tangible and intangible ways... Thank YOU for your kindness.
Of course, none of this excuses me from acts of kindness. Which is fine. I find that unless someone outright misinterprets an act of kindness (like this elderly lady I offered a seat on the bus to in High School screaming at me "I'M NOT THAT OLD YOU NITWIT!"), it actually lifts me up. I feel reconnected to humanity by it. And sometimes, though not expecting it, more blessed by it by the person I was trying to reach.
My mom had a very lovely 90 year old roommate when she was convalescing in the Nursing Home. Sabrina is a very social lady who cannot leave her room often (sitting too long in a wheelchair wears her out) and she gets no visitors. She has no children of her own, and nephews and nieces are scattered around the country. She was a real blessing for mom and me. And we for her. Yes, in the brief time mom was there, the three of us chatted up a storm.
Anyways, last week I got to worrying about her. She was there when they were working on mom FOR FORTY MINUTES! If the situation had been reversed, mom would have been sooooo upset, and of course, Mom would have had me to try to reassure her. Sabrina has no one. So I went with a gift to visit her. I wanted to know she was okay. I had no intention of asking her about Mom's passing, and I didn't. Honest. I just wanted to reassure her, if she needed....
Instead, she reassured me! No, not that I went in all upset. I was able to fake cheeriness for an hour. Sabrina was fine. She assumed I was, too. She conversationally mentioned how quickly life changes.
"One moment your Mom was talking to me and the nurses, and the next, she was gone.... They were working on her right away. She was just gone."
Sabrina's words backed up the nurse's version of what happened that morning. I did not ask Sabrina what they were talking about, or anything like that. I just commented that that's the way I'd like to go, and Sabrina agreed. Then we talked about other things.
But it was a relief to me to know that's how it went. I had worked myself up into "Well what are the nurses supposed to say? 'She was begging for you because she thought she was dying, and we told her to wait until visiting hours...'" Knowing that mom had no clue, no fear has brought me more peace.
I don't believe in karma. This was not some sort of reward for being kind, any more than the old lady who yelled at me years ago was any sort of punishment. But, though I was trying to be kind to her (honest), my visit with her was more of a blessing to me than her.
And that is okay. Sometimes kindness is like that. I learned a lot from talking to Sabrina that day. If I am ever going to get over mom's passing, it'll be only when I can reach out of myself and be kind to others. One day at a time....