I got a card in the mail today from a neighborhood woman. I told her about the miscarriage when she called to ask me to send out an email for a local organization. At the time, she was so sweet, telling me how sorry she was for our loss. We got off the phone and I felt comforted. Like she really got it. She meant what she was saying, and truly hurt for me.
The card itself was really sweet, too.
“Thoughts of you are gently wrapped in little prayers for heaven to smile on you, angels to watch over you, and happiness to fill your heart again.”
This was not the only act of kindness in my life. Today, for instance, I got a call from the mom of one of my religion kids. She apologized for taking so long to call, and wanted to know how I was feeling. I was so touched. My friends have been rallying around me, too. Calling, emailing, texting. “Just thinking of U today, Ka. Hope you are doing well.” I got that text around 7 p.m. this evening from an old, old friend.
In the past — when people I knew battled adversity — I always felt bad that I wasn’t doing MORE for them. What could a card do? What could a call do? Would my baked ziti really change anyone’s life? I should have thought back to my first miscarriage in July 2005. (That baby, due January 2006, would be six right now.) Right after I miscarried there was a knock on the door. One of the people I consider a “bestie” was standing there holding a pint of Ralph’s Italian ices. Jelly ring flavor, which is a favorite. She looked really uncomfortable and told me she didn’t need to be invited in, but she wanted to do something to show me she was thinking of me. Later on, I ate those ices and cried over the baby I had lost. It sounds morbid, but I’ve never forgotten that small, kind act. I don’t think I ever will.
Anyway, the point of this rather depressing blog post is that yes, small acts of kindness and heartfelt sympathy really mean something. I feel more whole knowing there are, for instance, super-busy people who will drop everything in their Manhattan office, asking me where they can call me. And people who email me constantly, checking in and making sure I am okay. And I can’t forget my entire GROUP of writer friends who sent me their phone numbers and commiserated with me. Those who shared their own stories of loss and grief to let me know that they understood. That I am not alone. And what about the woman who only knows me through our kids — and hadn’t spoken to me for more than a year – but offered to come over and help me clean up my yard so I could just sit and rest because I NEEDED my rest? How could I forget her? Or family member who texted me four simple words, “I am so sorry,” making me feel warm inside even while tears streamed down my face. (That one was especially meaningful since that particular family member has many, many more never-born babies than I do.) I was equally as humbled by the friend who constantly told me to drop off my kids or said she would come and pick them up as well as her husband, who knows how I feel about hugs but still wrapped his arms around me to tell me that he cares. Or my brother, who actually CAME to my house and hung out, which is something he rarely does. And my mom, who stopped nagging and just took care of me, bringing me meals and watching my kids. My in-laws, too, who raced to the hospital at 4 a.m. to bring my kids home and have been attentive and worried during the whole process.
Yes, this entire experience has sucked really, really bad, but it definitely brought me clarity. It shows me how many amazing people I have around me — more than I realized. It also showed me who I should care about, and who I needed to remove from my life. Finally, it reminded me that an act of kindness, however seemingly small, can be huge to the person on the receiving end. And for that I am glad. It was a true silver lining on what was really a hurricane-sized thunder cloud.