A woman I haven’t seen for 15 years just emailed me out of the blue.
Our mutual friend, Heather, died of cancer nine years ago this month. This weekend, in fact. Today. Nine years ago, today.
Kris knew that she could write me and I would immediately understand what she meant when she said she was “homesick” for Heather.
We all have seasons of “homesickness” for those we have lost, but it sure makes me feel better knowing there is someone out there who loved her just as much as I did and still misses her as much as I do. It seems as if, together, we can keep a piece of her alive.
Debbie Tight, a Fargo woman who lost her son several years ago, wrote to me recently about how much she appreciates the way her son’s friends still work to keep his spirit alive and how it continues to act as a balm to heal her pain.
“Our youngest son, Tom, died suddenly and unexpectedly on May 18, 2001. He was 26 at the time and had type 1 diabetes since he was 16. October 11, 2014 would have been his 40th birthday. It was also the day of the annual Step Out for Diabetes Walk at the Scheels Arena here in Fargo. My husband, Bob, and I participated in the walk, and in preparation sent out emails to family and friends requesting donations to the American Diabetes Association. Since Tom’s contemporaries are all near or at 40 years of age and in their ‘earning years,’ we decided to include some of them in our request for donations to the ADA.
The day of the walk arrived and we were at the arena waiting for it to begin when a good friend of Tom’s who lives in West Fargo walked up to us, with a crutch in one arm and his one year old son in the other. He had just had knee surgery and couldn’t participate but wanted to let us know that he was thinking about Tom, especially on that day.
Another dear friend said she couldn’t make the walk, but sent her 90 year old mother and her sister in her place. Just before the walk started, our friend rushed in saying someone in the back needed to talk to us right away. To our great surprise, there stood Tom’s best friend from Minneapolis and another friend who had flown in from Oklahoma – all to walk with us and remember Tom. We were blown away by their love, kindness and generosity.
Between the morning walk and an afternoon Bison football game, my husband and I scurried around, ordered sandwiches and a cake and had everyone over to our home in north Fargo for supper.
The group included all of the above plus several other friends. We talked, laughed, reminisced and had a wonderful time. This is a day we will NEVER forget – a great tribute to our son, Tom, and much love expressed by dear friends.”
If you are having a season of “homesickness” for someone special, I hope you pick up the phone, send out an email, or do whatever you can to reach out to someone else who shared your love. That simple act of kindness has the power to soften the heartache for both of you.
Please continue to share your stories of kindness with me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Or send a letter to Kindness is Contagious c/o Nicole J. Phillips, The Forum, 101 5th St. N., Box 2020, Fargo, ND 58107.
Nicole J. Phillips is a former television anchor for Fox News in Fargo. She is a writer, speaker and mother of three kids. Nicole is married to Ohio University’s Men’s Head Basketball Coach Saul Phillips. Her columns run every Saturday. You can also get a Daily Dose of Inspiration from Nicole at www.nicolejphillips.com.