“For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone.” Audrey Hepburn
Forty-two days after my loved one passed, I left my home in the northeast to attend a special celebration in Florida. I wanted to be at this anniversary party for my close friend. However, as a new widow, I sought the tenderness, compassion, and unconditional love that I knew that many of the guests would be able to provide.
Nothing Could Touch Me
We stayed on the beach, sharing a condo overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The view was beautiful and the ocean air felt healing. I took the couch to sleep with the sliding glass doors open and heard the waves in the evening. Nothing seemed like it could touch me here, not even the despair and separateness I felt before arriving. I needed some time to be, breathe, and feel a connection to the God of my understanding.
On that beautiful morning, I sat on the balcony, letting my breath carry me into a place of peace when my phone rang.
Glancing at the face, I saw that it was my loved one’s ex-wife. I knew that I was grieving, the sense of loss I felt was overwhelming, and the last person I wanted to speak to was an ex-wife.
I summoned all the patience and tolerance I had and answered the phone. Instead of my head telling me that it would be unpleasant and trying, I allowed my kind and loving God to open me up to whatever was on the other end of the phone.
I listened and I found myself letting her kindness and thoughtfulness touch me. I don’t remember what was said as the conversation was short. However, it was clear that it was an act of compassion that didn’t need to happen but did. She went out of her way to let me know that she was thinking of me. She expressed her kindness and shared her most profound regret for my loss.
The Mother of my Daughter
This woman was the mother of my daughter. She was my loved one’s first love, high school girlfriend, and ex-wife.
What I know is that this woman was most certainly experiencing her own sense of loss, and she still took the time to call me. This act of kindness reminded me not to assume anything about what an ex-wife could or would do.
I ended the telephone call grateful for the work we had done through the years to put aside the wife/ex-wife thing and do what would be best for our children. And on this day, of all days, it paid off.
On this day, I was reminded not to project or deny someone an opportunity to practice compassion and empathy no matter who they are. I know today that kindness is not just relegated to family and friends.
I am incredibly grateful to that special ex-wife whose kind and gentle words provided an unexpected reprieve in the middle of my grief. For that, I am extremely thankful.