Wednesday, 18 May 2011

The Kindness of Acquaintances

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. 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. But she was.

As I have mentioned before, I 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 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 says, "I was wondering how your Mother's day was?"


Did she really just ask me that?? In person and everything???

"Not great," I say, "It was pretty rough, but I managed my way through it." 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 two Mother's days. 

She 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 tonight.

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 friend 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. It will make their day,,,,, I promise!


  1. That's so nice. I love how people come out of the wood work and impress you with their compassion. Glad you had a good time at the meeting. :)

  2. Even though it hurts, I love to talk about my babies. Like your son, they existed and touched our lives. I've said it in one of my posts, I like to share their memory with others. It keeps them alive in our hearts. Too many people stopped asking, like the world forgot and I'm left in this grief hell by myself (with my husband). Some people surprise us, in a good way.

  3. That is so true- so happy that she reached out to you! It always is a great feeling to know people care and acknowledge our children!


  4. It is so ironic that you wrote about this in your post today as I just wrote in my post about the "comments" that random people make without even thinking. I truly believe that people who haven't walked in our shoes can't even begin to undertand what it is like. This is why I think it is so important to surround ourselves with those who can understand.

  5. How gorgeous of her to reach out to you. I find that these kind of comments mean so much and remind me that there is compassion in the world... when everyone else seems to have forgotten. Love to you always xoxo

  6. Well, it seems appropriate to leave a comment, given the subject matter of the post. I came over to your blog from Some Mothers Do Ave Em, just for a browse, and I was so sad to read your story. I'm an English woman, living in the States, so I understand a little, just a very little, of what you say about being so far from family in life-changing circumstances.

    I don't know what else to say except that your story has moved me, and thank you for writing.

  7. I have been touched by someone like that, and it is very soothing.

    Glad she came out to support you like this.

    Take Care!

  8. Thank you for writing this post when you did. I have a family member who had a miscarriage a month or two ago, and I haven't reached out for fear of making her pain worse. I see her next weekend, and even though I am probably only at an "acquaintance" level (husband's cousin), I feel comfortable now letting her know that I care.

  9. I read your comment with tears in my eyes.

    It's true .... you sometimes get confort from people you never expected.

    Take care

  10. This happened to me too the other day and it is so special isn't it. People remember our children and think about them, that is just priceless.

    So glad that this lady is there for you and remembers your beautiful son.

  11. You're so right--I also got sympathy cards from acquaintances and it made me realize how much those expressions of sympathy meant to me, even from people I don't know very well. I'm so glad to hear that this woman wasn't afraid to talk to you about your son.

  12. This is so sweet and brought tears to my eyes! I love when people suprise me like this. It's rare - but it happens.

  13. Enlightening - I'm always afraid to bring up tragedy or heartache - in case the person is trying to have fun and not think about something unpleasant - good to know that a graceful comment is appreciated

  14. This brought tears to my eyes actually. She sounds like a lovely lady.

  15. How wonderful. I had a similar experience, someone unexpected looked into my eyes and asked how I was really doing. It took my breath away thinking of how long I'd waited for someone to ask. I'm she asked you.

  16. There are people who say they care, keeping a safe distance, and others who take the time in letting you know with a gesture such as this one. It brings it all together, somehow.

    That was heartwarming.

  17. This is a good lesson for me. I am the person who is too timid to reach out sometimes... if people ask for hep I am there, and I try to be supportive in less direct ways, but perhaps I need to make more of an effort to follow this friend's lead. Thank you for sharing :)

  18. I am your newest follower! :) Your blog has touched my heart in so many ways, and I'm so sorry to hear about your loss. The story of this acquaintance reaching out to you brought tears to your eyes. What a wonderful way of knowing that people DO care and DO acknowledge your loss, and may be thinking of you when you don't even know it. It would make my day, too!

    I am just starting to incorporate my pregnancy losses into my blog. I have just experienced my 2nd miscarriage in a row (we have yet to have any children) so Easter & Mother's Day was NOT the best time this year. Thank you for creating a blog for women to turn to for support and understanding, too often pregnancy loss/miscarriage is overlooked or treated with less significance. I look forward to following along with your journey!

  19. This is a really timely post, which is an odd thing to say since it was written six months ago. It's timely because I've been thinking about a close girlfriend who lost her little girl two months ago. She lives in London so I haven't seen her or spoken to her. We have just emailed on and off. I want to show her I thinking of her, so I've initiated a few emails but I really don't know how she is and if she wants to talk. I want to get her a memorial piece of jewellery but don't know if she'd rather move on and not be deliberately reminded. Then I feel bad for feeling so much about this because I think it's not about me and how I'm feeling, but about her. So I'm torn about the jewellery. I'm torn about whether I should keep emailing "I'm thinking of you" emails when she doesn't reply. I guess I feel rather helpless and her heart is broken.

  20. Your blog is inspirational. What an important story you share with such an open heart. xo

  21. Lovely post. And lovely lady.

    Visiting via the Rewind.

  22. What a kind person. I find the problem is allowing people to show kindness by exposing my vulnerability.