Tuesday, September 20, 2011

The kindness of strangers

What has amazed and touched me through this grief journey was the kindness of strangers. One woman who goes to my sister's church made us a meal, including lunchbox treats for the kids. Nita's teachers, Kiki's friends from church group, the kids' music teachers, former girl scout friends, and some of my former employees showed up at the calling hours. And we received sympathy cards and notes from our vet, the bank, the orthodontist, the pharmacy at the corner, and the "girls" (as they called themselves) who cut our hair. My friend Kevin sent a Honeybaked Ham. People brought meals, including the wife of our handyman, neighbors, Kiki's confirmation sponsor, and one dear friend of mine who made a breakfast casserole.

However, one woman apparently read the obituaries and then sent a form letter stating that her church's Bible study could provide me with the answers I've been seeking. (I didn't know that churches answered "What the Hell?" I was offended, as the obituary clearly stated that EG was a man of strong faith and that there was going to be a funeral Mass. However, this woman apparently believed that the Jehovah's Witnesses had the corner on healing.

After a while, once the shock of the whole situation had mostly subsided, I wrote back to this misguided woman, telling her that I understood that she most likely saw this as a mission, but she didn't know where people were in their grief, and she might cause more pain with her letter-writing campaign. I ended the letter by telling her that I was going to have a Mass said for her soul. I figure that she would most likely be somewhat taken aback at that, and maybe it would help her related to how others might feel.

1 comment:

maeve said...

Beautifully done. I didn't have any strangers, but I had plenty of people who tried to get me to "feel better" because he and I would be together again someday. Or that god knew what was right and his death was what some god wanted. Or that (and I hate this one the most) that god never gives us anything we can't handle. (So why are all of those people in mental health hospitals? Did they get more than they could handle or is this all their fault?)

That's all I know. Oh, and cremation is somehow always questioned, but I can't figure out why.

You're a strong and smart woman. One by one we'll take them on.

Love, m.