There is much talk about the kindness of close friends. There is also much talk about the kindness of strangers. But what about the kindness of those people who exist in between? Those people who we know and see, but not very well or very often. What about these people we would call acquaintances?
This post is about exactly that. It’s about someone who caught me by surprise. Someone who I wouldn’t expect to be thinking about me, or caring how I was holding up. But she was.
As I have mentioned in other articles, I now live in London, and belong to an expat women’s club. The women I have met through this club have been my lifeline, both before and (especially) after losing my son last August. In a huge city like London, this women’s club has brought me a sense of community and security.
I went to our club’s monthly wine tasting event. As it’s a recurring event, I know all the women there. But not all of them are what I would consider my close friends. Tonight I sat next to the woman who organizes the event. Although I don’t know her well, I met her when I was pregnant with my son and she is aware of what happened.
“I’ve been thinking about you a lot lately,” she said with warmth and concern in her eyes. “I was wondering how your Mother’s day was?”
Did she really just ask me that? Out loud and in person???
“Not great,” I said. “It was pretty rough, but I managed my way through it.” And then I told her. I shared her about how difficult every holiday has been since losing my son. I talked about how Easter had snuck up on me, and how much it sucked to have to deal with Mother’s Day.
She listened, squeezed my hand, and told me how sorry she was for my loss.
I was so touched. I mean, I don’t see her every day, and I certainly don’t share my grief with her. But she still thought about me that day. And she thought about me enough to ask me about it that night.
I was overcome with gratitude. I thanked her for asking, as I tried desperately not to cry. I shared with her my sadness that more people don’t ask me about my loss. They are afraid to hurt my feelings, when in truth my feelings are already crushed in a million pieces and no question asked by a caring individual is going to make things any worse.
Again, she squeezed my hand and told me that she was there for me if I ever wanted to talk. It made me feel so good, and so loved… by someone I hardly know.
It reminded me that people do still care. They do still think about my loss. Even when it seems that the whole world had moved on. It hasn’t. It’s just that most people don’t want to mention it anymore. They are afraid to remind me of what I have lost. But not everyone. There are still a few people who are willing to reach out.
It was a great night. A night when I learned to appreciate the kindness of acquaintances.
So for those of you who are reading this who know someone who has suffered a loss, please don’t be afraid to let them know you are thinking about them. Even if it brings some tears, it will make their day. I promise!
The author of Finding My New Normal blogs about her life, and her husband’s life, after the death of their son in the 36th week of pregnancy. Having recently moved from the US to London, she shares her journey openly, including her plans to have another child.