It was such a kind gesture. A moment of offering the spot of kindness that travels far, especially with me. It was not a gift, wrapped lovely in a box the color of a robin's egg, tied with a white satin ribbon. It was not a flattering compliment, words lavished in a heap of praise. It was not an invitation, a kind offer to spend a long weekend at a lovely setting on the water somewhere. It was none of these but it was kind in a way that brought tears to my eyes and left me wondering what had triggered the sudden flood of emotions.
It was such a kind gesture and not even by a dear friend, but a friend, a dear friend of a dear friend and our history was long and we knew enough about one another that made conversations comfortable and enjoyable. The question she posed was casual and I appreciated being asked; it was something about Amos, my special needs son, and we began to talk, both of us, me about Amos and her about her son. Two special needs children, little boys so wanted by their families and yet, my son was alive and hers was not.
It was such a kind gesture. She was reaching out to me and all I could think was why am I the one crying? She was the one who had lost her precious and only little boy, not me. I was sitting in that moment cuddling my Amos and her empty arms screamed at me from across the table. Her empathy though for me was palpable as the tears rolled down my cheeks. I wiped them away half heartedly and tried to explain that it was okay. I was ashamed to be weeping when the loss was so evident. My own loss of the child I thought I would have seemed like a mosquito bite compared to her suffering.
It was such a kind gesture. As we talked and she and I shared our views on hope, prayers, and miracles, including the ones that don't always come, I was overwhelmed with her generosity. My tears were less of my own perceived loss and more of her priceless gift to me. A not so close friend lay her heart down for me to read. Her offer of vulnerability was what sparked the tears in hindsight, my own empathy had been kindly shrugged away and her gift of kindness was the divulging of her own very personal feelings. My thankfulness went unspoken as the acknowledgement of kindness came too late. It was many hours later, after a storm and the feat of tucking four children in their beds, that I had time to reflect on the day's joy.
It was such a kind gesture and I'm left to pay it forward with the exemplary example of courage by a mother who shared her whole heart.