The kindness of strangers

…especially the ones I know.

The last 36 hours have been interesting in that there seems to have been a memo circulated that people who know me should reach out to me and say or do really nice things that make me feel like I’m actually liked and cared about.

One of the guys from my congregation sent me a text yesterday, asking me if I was okay and saying he missed me and the family (I haven’t been to one of my meetings, i.e., church, in about three months).  I didn’t go into great detail, just told him I’ve been having health issues, to which he responded with an offer for he and his wife to bring something over…food or other “get well soon” stuff.

This morning my brother called me and said some stuff that was on the sweet side of things…stuff about wanting to keep me around and all.  This is especially important to me because, for reasons I may elaborate on at another time, I grew up feeling like an only child, despite the fact that my step-dad and mom had five kids between them. My brother and I started to repair our relationship after Josh died, but we’ve slowly gotten closer in the last few years and especially the last few months.  It feels really good to say I have a big brother and have it actually mean something….a lot of something.

And then two ladies from my congregation stopped by.  One of them, Diane, has known of my struggles and texts or calls me a couple of times a week to check in on me.  She and Pulon stayed for an hour or so and we talked about my struggles of late.  Pulon was especially loving, and came over as I was talking and gave me a hug, tears in her eyes to match my own.  It turns out she, too, struggles with clinical depression, and she had had no idea I had been in the 20 foot hole.

Lastly, the hubs and I had dinner with his mom, grandmother, and the kidlet.  Aside from a sweet gesture from my daughter, what struck me was the lingering squeeze I received from Tony’s grandmother.  A terrifying woman when I met her, the birth of my daughter softened her considerably, and she is now pretty much a cream puff, at least in the kidlet’s presence.  She’s 85, Italian, and still speaks with a Queen’s accent despite having left New York over 30 years ago.  And today she hugged me like I was actually her family, and not just her grandson’s wife.  Last week his mom left a voicemail on my cell phone and referred to herself as “mom”.  Wha?

I know these seem like little things, but for me, they mean a lot.  I tend to think people don’t think of me when I’m not in the room, and would prefer not to when I am.  I know it’s not fair to myself, or to those around me, so I’m really trying to appreciate these tiny gestures.

Oh, and tonight I Skyped with my newborn nephew.  He’s only five days old and we haven’t yet met physically, but his eyes said “I love you, you’re the bestest auntie in the whole world”.

Either that, or he was pooping.


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