The Nice One

Kim and I used to joke that our little secret was that really I was the nicer one of the two of us. It’s one of those things that started with a side-comment and somehow became established fact between the two of us.

I think all she was trying to say was that from the outside she came across as nicer where really I was the more optimistic of the two of us. That I thought better of others than she.

It turned out there was a quiet side of Kim that was nicer than I ever knew.

Since her death, every once in a while someone will share something that Kim did quietly without anyone knowing to support someone, share a smile, and to make them feel better.

Every once in a while I’ll get a note from someone with a story.

One woman shared aa note that Kim had written her when she was down both personally and professionally and Kim just wanted her to know that Kim had confidence that this woman’s awesomeness would shine through. Kim offered her strength and support at a time she needed it – and it made a difference.

Another woman wrote that she was in the process of moving and was cleaning out a drawer when she found notes that Kim had written her – little acts of kindness to say she was thinking of her.

Last week, I was in Edinburgh visiting friends.

It was the end of a two week trip that had started in Amsterdam and continued to London. I saw the cities partly through fresh eyes and partly through eyes that relived the Amsterdam, London, and Edinburgh that Kim and I had loved together.

In Amsterdam, I’d visited the Van Gogh museum. Kim had loved that museum and every few visits I return there to look at the paintings she loved and feel her there with me.

In London, I went to see a play – Arthur Miller’s “The Price”, with David Suchet as the furniture dealer. I hadn’t seen a play in London since Kim and I went to see Hamlet. The next day, St. Patrick’s Day, I stopped, as I always do, for tea at the crypt of St. Martins in the Field. Is their tea and scones better than anyone else’s in London? I don’t know. But Kim and I always stopped their once on our visits and so I often still do.

In Edinburgh I stayed in an apartment above the one where Kim and I had often stayed just off the Royal mile. I stopped by several times to see Christine at Forsyth’s tea but they were always closed. Christine didn’t always open her tea shop – when she did, Kim would spend hours there talking to her. When I would join them after my class or conference, Kim would have me work chores that she’d promised Christine we’d help with.

I was torn.

I wanted to see her and I didn’t. I wanted to tell her about Kim. And I didn’t.

The canals of Amsterdam – the streets of Edinburgh that Kim and I had walked and gotten lost in and walked in circles in. They all now made sense to me. I had a mental image of how they came together.

I woke up my last morning in Edinburgh to a text from one of Kim’s cousins.

Her cousin had found a note that Kim had written to her on her mom’s birthday a few years after her mom – Kim’s aunt – had died.

It was a simple note that celebrated the life, not the death, of her aunt.

A simple note that reached out and hugged her cousins.

“It was fitting that the first day of spring fell on your mom’s birthday. It was such a beautiful day. Love, Kim”

I smiled.

I was the lucky one.

The one lucky enough to have married the nice one.

Published in: on March 28, 2019 at 8:48 pm  Comments (1)  

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One CommentLeave a comment

  1. Reading from South Korea. Lamentations 3:32: God will show compassion, so great is his unfailing love.


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