The Kindness of Friends

Susan Sweeney Smith, our major gifts and community outreach director, is currently on sick leave from the station. We hope to have her back at work in late June. She asked me to share this essay with you. –Ellen Rocco

The Kindness of Friends

I’ve been through a fair bit of health hell for several months now and it’s not quite over — close though.  Many many people did lots of things to help me feel better — called, stopped in briefly, brought love tokens of all varieties, sent flowers, sent food, brought full meals, sent books–the stuff I consider loving and normal under the circumstances of illness, illness that will, thankfully, ultimately pass.   It meant a lot to me to get cards every day for weeks and flowers every few days and to not have to cook a meal for three straight weeks — really amazing.

Today, however was extraordinary. My friend, Miki Crary, took a day off from work (yes, one of those rare and precious vacation days) and came to my house with a trunk load of annuals and all of her garden tools — including a fabulously fun straw hat.   She worked in my gardens all day.  Weeding. Relocating volunteers.  Letting two snakes be there without freaking (something I could not have done).  Putting my garden decorations in new and creative places.  Cutting out dead parts of the perennials.  She put in flats of impatiens (I have a lot of shade) and one geranium, “Just like the one I have in my garden so we’ll have two the same.”  All things I can normally do without missing a beat — and truly love doing — and can’t do this year.

And, she brought lunch.   I could do nothing to help except sit in a chair and point.  I even went inside and took a nap in the middle of it all. 

I would LOVE to tell you in some eloquent but sparse prose what today meant in the grand scheme of life…  but I don’t have those words at hand.  What I can tell you is that this truly simple act of loving kindness meant everything good in the world to me today — and will mean the same to me all summer long as the impatiens bloom.   I probably will not garden much at all this summer — I’ll be better in short order but not doing things like gardening for awhile.   Although I love my garden, I’ll be saving up my energy for family, friends and work.  Energy remains in short supply.  The weeds can come and have a great year — it’s probably fair to give them a turn anyway.

The gardens looks great today.  They look loved — which they are — and I feel loved.  Which of course, I am…

I think Miki is rare and special and wonderful in my world.  If you’re lucky, she’s your friend too.

2 Comments on “The Kindness of Friends”

  1. LeslieAnne says:

    Oh Susan! How wonderful to have such an expression of love! How awful to be in such need of it! See you soon.

  2. Mike says:

    God bless you and good luck! My wife has gone through some health issues over the past year and these simple gestures from our friends mean a lot and make a real difference.

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