The kindness of strangers…

I know this site is mainly supposed to be focused on the grief of a widower – THIS widower – but I keep being reminded that people are inherently good. So, I thought I would write about it a bit. (Bonus day – two posts in one day… Aren’t YOU lucky?)

I was just called by the purveyors of Kim’s CPAP machine – over a month after Kim’s passing:

“Hi, this is <name evades memory> from Sleep Solutions calling for Kimberley Babcock?”
“Kim passed away December first.”
“Oh, I’m sorry. She had rental medical equipment from us? A CPAP machine?”
“Kim told me that it was a rental for six months, and then it was hers.”
“No, it is a 13 month rental period. Can you hold on a moment?”
The Silence of the Electrons….
“Mr. Babcock? I’m so sorry for your loss. I’ve written off the remainder of the rental.”
“Thank you so much for your condolences and your consideration!”
What seemed like a shocked silence…
“You’re welcome!” came back in a bright voice.
“Have a nice day!”
“You, too!”

And this is just one example.

The social worker from Angela Hospice who was following Kim’s case sent me a sympathy card addressed to “a model husband and father”. During a later phone conversation with him – he still calls now and again to see how we’re doing – I told him I hardly fit that description, so he spelled out for me what he observed, and how extraordinary it was compared to the other cases he has followed. Frankly: I was flabbergasted, and the thought of someone doing anything less for their loved one pains me.

On the subject of having been able to care for Kim at home, I’ve already mentioned that COVID and Ford Motor Company facilitated my ability to provide that care. I will not name names, but my manager, chief engineer and director deserve high, high praise for the thoughtful consideration they gave to me and my situation. I have worked for others who would not have been so understanding, accommodating, or caring.

And my daughter’s high school – Saint Mary’s Catholic Central in Monroe called me during Kim’s viewing. I did not note the call or answer it, but they left voicemail to the effect that they had forgiven the debt of my daughter’s tuition – and this was not a trivial amount.

There are more examples; some trivial, some not so trivial. It is incredible to me the regard people who knew us held for Kim and I, and, equally incredible: the caring regard of complete strangers – I continue to be grateful – both for that regard, and for its exposition which, in light of current events, restores my faith in and hope for humanity.

But, to the point: people are inherently good. Few are not moved by the situation I find myself in. Keep that in mind as you go through similar. Even perfect strangers suffer the loss with you, if only briefly during, say, a phone conversation about a CPAP machine. With all the negative things being advertised by our alleged media, be buoyed to know that for every scumbag, there is a literal army of good folks out there – even some you wouldn’t imagine were there.