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The Greatest Gift
06-12-2011, 04:51 AM
Post: #1
The Greatest Gift
Our dearest friends have been with us since High School. We've muddled through our teenage years together, college, jobs, marriage, kids, and kids going off to college. There's a shared bond that's difficult to put into words, but easily understood by those who are fortunate enough to have the same. This past week, Marie (not her real name) gave the greatest gift I've ever known.

As I've gotten older, I've come to look at gifts in a different way. The material ones are nice, but random acts of kindness, laughter, and "taking one for the team" (in silence) strike me more as gifts than anything else these days. Marie's sister's family has struggled mightily over the years. It seems financial stability has eluded them, Marie bailing them out many times. Couple that with the brother-in-law's mental illness and things can go wrong fast.

Marie's brother-in-law's mother passed away after a long battle with cancer. 2 days later, Marie's sister asked her to check on the brother-in-law. She repeatedly banged on the door and was finally able to gain entry. Rummaging around the house, she came to the bedroom and a lump in the bed. Fearing an overdose of his medications, she pulled back the bed sheets and found nothing. Turning around, she found the brother-in-law hanging from the ceiling. She called 911 then called her husband, my best friend, and he picked up the wife. They have 3 children.

At the wake, Marie clearly needed to talk. The 4 of us huddled around each other while Marie told us this story, broke down, and hugged my wife for what seemed like an eternity. They both shed buckets of tears, my wife empathically trying to take away the pain it seemed. Marie said, "I'll never forget that image, of him hanging there. But I'm grateful it was me and not my sister or any of the kids."

In all my years, this is one of the greatest gifts I have ever encountered.

It's unclear why I felt the need to share this with you all. Perhaps writing it down helps me deal with it in my own way. I knew the brother-in-law well and it's never easy seeing a 40 year old man in a coffin, taken from us far too early. I also believe this community is one of the best group of folks I've encountered on the Internet, and I've been doing this a loooooonnngggg time - since this stuff was called USENET. You all are kind, compassionate, and never preachy. I'm grateful for our benefactor's gift of community.

Do you have a "Greatest Gift" you've witnessed or have been part of?

I jumped the cliff with a dream to fly
Without knowing the weight of feathers
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06-12-2011, 10:36 AM
Post: #2
RE: The Greatest Gift
I have one,but I'm going to have to pull myself together before I tell it.
It's about my friend's son who died on the Monday after Easter.
So in a few days I'll post that.

But I want to say, that you and your wife were a gift to her, because she had some people who understood who could share her pain.

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06-12-2011, 12:28 PM
Post: #3
RE: The Greatest Gift
Marie gave the give of selflessness to her sister, and probably will continue to do so. You and your wife gave the gift of support and time and that strong bond of friendship to Marie and her husband. Those are priceless

A party without cake is really just a meeting
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06-12-2011, 08:35 PM
Post: #4
RE: The Greatest Gift
Being the person for others to open up to and allow them to cry and be exposed or vulnerable can be the greatest gift to give. Or for being the person who needs to cry and open up having that person who you totally trust is a wonderful. I have been on both sides.

"... always throw spilt salt over your left shoulder, keep rosemary by your garden gate, plant lavender for luck, and fall in love whenever you can..." Practical Magic
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