Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Thank You for Your Kindness...

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....

16 comments:

Glynn said...

I think Sabrina was an act of kindness committed by God for Helen and her mother, that's what I think. Good post.

katdish said...

Oh, Helen! That's so awesome. I'm so glad you were able to talk to Sabrina.

♥ Kathy said...

That was a really sweet Helen ♥

Jessica Benzakein said...

Sounds like a double blessing!

Bridget Chumbley said...

You were BOTH blessed by this act of kindness! What a great story, Helen. I'm so glad you got the peace and reassurance you needed and deserved!

S. Etole said...

funny how in blessing we end up being blessed ... my mother lived with me for the last 3 years of her life and I can somewhat understand what you are going through ...

Wendy said...

So glad you got to hear those words from Sabrina. And it was nice of you to think of her and visit. Do you think you'll do it again? So happy that it was a blessing for you!

jasonS said...

What a great illustration of kindness. It's the kindness within you and His kindness for you. How great!

Your first story about a women getting upset with you on the bus reminded me of when I tried to help a lady on a plane with getting her bag in the overhead bin. She sharply told me "no" then explained when she sat down that she didn't like women who packed their bags too heavy so that they couldn't deal with them. I said, "oh okay" and thought it was one of the weirdest things I'd ever heard. :)

Lorrie said...

Sorry about your mom.. that's hard. It doesn't appear that the lady on the bus has scared you for life! People are strange :-/ and funny! Enjoyed your post very much. Blessings.

M.L. Gallagher said...

What a powerful story -- and I am sorry to hear about your mom -- and glad to know Sabrina had the words to soothe your heartache that day.

Hugs

Louise

Sandra Heska King said...

I had to laugh out loud at the bus lady.

Such a touching post. It's funny how often we end up receiving the greater kindness when we reach out to others.

Praying for you as you continue to grieve your mom's passing.

Joy said...

Helen, thank you for writing this and for sharing a little about your mom and Sabrina. I'm so happy for you that you received that gift of peace about your mom's passing. It is priceless. It is something I have thought about ever since my daughter passed -- was she afraid? Did I fail her in those last few moments?

Thank you for stopping by and reading my post, too.

nAncY said...

sabrina is a very good story of kindness shared.

i love it.

Terra said...

It sounds like God put you and Sabrina together to bless each other.

puzzled said...

I agree with Terra, God brought you two together to bless each other. The words of that prayer attributed to St Francis are true, "it is in giving that we receive". Thanks for a nice post Helen and I hope things are getting a little easier for you. I will remember you in my prayers, and your dear mother, too.

JoAnne Bennett said...

Helen, I am sorry to hear about the loss of your mother. What a kind thing for you to go and visit Sabrina. Something tells me that you will continue to be such a sweet, caring person and stay in contact with her. I believe God puts new friends in our lives for a reason. Thanks for sharing :)! Take care.

JoAnne