I was sitting at the picnic table in our backyard talking to my sister, Jill.
We were waiting for Kim’s sister Carolyn to join us.
The dog ran back and forth. Someone nearby was mowing their lawn.
It was our neighbor Tom and the lawn he was mowing was mine.
That’s just so thoughtful. He’d mowed the lawn a week earlier while we were in the hospital taking turns visiting with Kim.
Friday morning Kim and I had enjoyed coffee together, chatted about the day, made plans for that night. You know, had one of those typical mornings we’d had so many of.
So many of and yet, as it turned out, not enough of.
By Friday night we were trying to see Kim in this woman being kept alive on a respirator. Maybe by morning she’d recover.
In movies she’d wake up and ask what we were all looking at.
Go ahead Kim, we all thought and prayed, wake up.
And while we were in the hospital my neighbor Tom looked across at our lawn and thought, “well, I don’t want them to have to worry about that while they have so much to deal with.”
So on that first Saturday while we spent the day at the hospital, Tom quietly mowed the lawn without any fuss. I’m not sure he would even have told us. Our neighbor Sue helped in the back yard picking up dog poop while Tom mowed.
That is stunningly thoughtful.
I never would have thought of that.
Kim would have.
I’m not just saying that. She would have.
A while back one of our neighbors called. Her mom was sick and she needed a baby sitter. Was Maggie available?
Unfortunately, Maggie wasn’t around. She was playing soccer or something – I don’t know. The point is that the neighbor asked for Maggie and Maggie wasn’t available.
If it were me on the phone I would have given our neighbor numbers of friends of Maggie who might be able to babysit or maybe I would have called them myself and asked.
Kim heard something in our neighbor’s voice – she was anxious and needed to find someone fast. Kim said, I’ll watch your sons.
That was Kim. Part of what made her special was that she was willing to do things for others and part of what made her special was that she thought of ways in which she could.
We also were lucky to be surrounded by people who were that thoughtful.
We were at Kim’s aunt and uncle’s house the other night.
We heard lightning and I looked at Dark Sky. It said we had fifteen minutes until this light rain turned to a downpour.
We’d parked a block away. I knew there was no way Kim could leave quickly enough so I told her I would get the car and come back and get her and Maggie.
I hurried to the car and just as I got there the sprinkles turned to heavy rain. I pulled around to the driveway and texted her that I was there. She just had to hurry 25 feet to the car.
Nothing. No reply.
About fifteen minutes later, I saw Kim through the pouring rain through the window to the kitchen. Ahh, she was ready to leave.
Her cousin Christine’s cousin Anthony ran out to his car, opened the trunk, and grabbed an umbrella. He hurried back to the house, soaked.
A moment later he walked Kim to our car under the umbrella protected from the rain.
He had thought to help her when he didn’t have to. Such a nice thing to do.
Kim turned to me in the car, barely wet.
“That was really sweet of Anthony,” she said.
“It was,” I agreed.
“Well?” she prompted.
“Well, what?” I asked.
“What are you waiting for? We can go now.”
“I thought I’d wait for Maggie,” I said.
She looked in the back seat. “Oops, I thought she was with us under the umbrella.”
I gestured. Anthony was making a second trip to our car, this time with Maggie under the umbrella.
Different levels of a challenge: first, be willing to do nice things for others. Second, think of more nice things to do for them.
While others stare at a glass trying to decide whether a cup of coffee is half full or half empty, I’m lucky enough to be surrounded by people asking if I’d like a little pie to go with my coffee.