An incredible act of kindness


I stopped by my Mom’s house one day last week. I don’t really remember the reason. It really doesn’t matter. Anyway she was alone making a sandwich for her dinner. You see my Dad died 22 years ago. He, my Mom, my sister and Mike, who was a little boy then were clearing brush from around a tree that had fallen over and landed on our roof. It landed on my sister’s bedroom. Fortunately she wasn’t hurt. Dad was determined to clear away the brush so that when the man came the next day to cut up and remove the tree it would be easier for him. It was his fault the tree landed on the roof. He cut the tree down at the wrong angle.

Suddenly my Dad got a strange look on his face. One side of his forehead turned a purplish color. Dad collapsed in the yard in front of Mom, my sister, and Mike. Technically he was dead the moment the massive heart attack occurred. But once the three of them were finally able to move they called the rescue squad. The paramedics got his heart going several times on the scene and on the way to the hospital. At the emergency room they worked on him too. But in the end, it was fruitless. The emergency room doctor later told Mom that had he survived he would have been in a vegetative state. A clot simultaneously entered the brain and he had a massive stroke.

Mike and his mom lived with my parents since before Mike’s birth. My Dad was all the Dad Mike ever knew. I think one of my Dad’s happiest moments was when Mike asked if it was OK to call him Dad. Of course my Dad said yes. For some reason Mike felt he had to ask all of us for permission because he discussed it with each of us at some point in time. Sometimes I got the feeling by things he said, Mike didn’t understand we considered him a brother. He didn’t need our permission to call our parents anything. He always called Mom, Gram. And my Dad was Dad.

Anyway back to my story. My brother and Mike’s mom both live with Mom now. My brother moved back home after the last time he was hospitalized for congestive heart failure since he could no longer work. He needed a place until his disability was approved. He’s doing better. But, it is only a matter of time before we will no longer have him with us. Both his legs are now purple. But he is determined to make the most of his time. So he is gone a lot. My sister goes over to Mike’s house and visits the girls or babysits them. The girls are what keeps her going.

That means Mom spends a lot of time alone with her grief. She asked me if I wanted a sandwich too. So I made one. While I was making my sandwich Mom says I have to show you something. In my family that can be a prelude to almost anything. Uauslly it means  something’s going on or there is some other problem. With a large family you learn to expect this.

Mom came back into the kitchen with a piece of brown paper torn from a grocery bag. Now this is a new one.  At that point my mind quit trying to guess what type of reaction to prepare. Since Mike was killed there are many of those times. It helps to keep the peace. It helps to make sure you don’t upset someone further who is having a hard time at any given point in time.

I looked at Mom’s face to try to gauge the situation. I wanted to make sure I gave a proper response. Mom’s eyes were misted but I am sure she would never admit it. She told me she went to the store earlier for groceries and when she came out she found a note on her windshield. Damn, I thought. Someone hit her car.  But the look in her eyes wan’t an angry look. Actually it was a sad and happy look if you can picture having both at the same time.

When she took the note off her windshield and read it, the note said, “Thank you so much for your service. I want you to know we are all behind you,” or words to that effect. You see when Mike joined the Navy he got stickers for his Mom and Gram. His Mom was still upset that he joined so she told him she wasn’t putting that stuff on her car. Well Mom says I’m putting it on mine. So Mike gave her a sticker. When she sold that car recently and bought another she waited until she was sure she could move the sticker before she bought it. The guys where she bought the car helped her because they knew Mike had been killed.

As my Mom showed me the note you could tell by the look in her eyes how much that note meant to her. She said that note made her feel a little like Mike didn’t die for nothing! She plans to put it with her keepsakes of Mike. If you were that kind individual, God bless you. Very little has made my Mom or Mike’s Mom feel that good since Mike was killed. My Mom cried when she read the note. I cried when I read it. I am sure that Mike’s Mom cried too. But they weren’t the bitter sweet tears of pain. The tears were the tears that come with knowing your loved one was appreciated. That his or her sacrifice meant something. They were the tears that come from knowing  their loved one was not forgotten.

If you know someone who has lost a son or daughter or other loved one in the war little things like that note or a simple thank you mean all the more. If you see a car with a sticker that says someone in that family is serving their country, leave them a thank you on any kind of paper. Stick it under their wiper blade so they will find it when they come back to their car. Maybe one day you too will bring joy to someone who is grieving the loss of that loved one. Maybe for that one minute you will help them feel something besides grief!  

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~ by devildog6771 on July 22, 2006.

5 Responses to “An incredible act of kindness”

  1. It sure made Mom’s day. I wish I could thank that person! But, my Mom might not appreciate the public attention of a open thank you!

  2. Awww! That is wonderful! Awwww!

  3. It sure did make my Mom’s day! Thanms guys. Take care.

  4. OMG that is SOOOOOOOOO sweet!!!! what an awesome story – thank you for sharing!

  5. Thats beautiful DD.

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