top of page



What is kindness? Kind, according to Webster's, is defined as essential character; as an adjective: sympathetic, gentle, benevolent. It doesn’t really describe it. It’s kind of hard to describe a concept, especially using a noun to define an adjective.

I can recognize it even if Webster doesn’t exactly make it clear.

I can see kindness in outcomes, in behavior.

I saw kindness in the women who came day-after-day to assist me in caring for my spouse, who was progressively displaying Dementia deterioration. They weren’t receiving enough payment for what they did. They were there out of kindness, to make the day better and easier for all.

The women who spoke little English, who patiently explained what to expect with my spouse’s illness, and even how to prepare the dog for approaching death.

Our neighbors, who bought a coffee pot in order to provide my spouse a fresh cup of coffee for clandestine visits that I had not authorized.

The caretaker who made up card games, so this poker whiz could play cards. Put all the numbers together, or all the red ones, resulting in pride and accomplishment.

The caretaker who would find something to laugh about.

The neighbor who announced when she found out my spouse had died, that I was now going to spend Thanksgiving and Christmas day dinners with them.

Accepting kindness was extremely difficult for me.

My spouse loved attention, oftentimes demanded it. It was one of the ways of learning. Help would be asked for, opinions asked, listening to what people would explain, and expand upon it, expand upon the information. Kindness accepted.

I didn’t, and didn’t.

I don’t remember a lot of kindness in my life growing up. My father was not a kind man. He was totally absorbed in his omnificence, decimating others in the process. My mother was too immersed in anxiety to protect her children. They were much kinder to outsiders than to their children.

I coped by escaping the house, being physically absent. I learned to cloak myself with a shield of armor, to deflect taunting and anxiety in the house.

I learned to be task-oriented. Do something good and there’s an inherent award. Being so proficient, a supervisor in my training program after high school became obsessed with me, which was not a good basis for a friendship or relationship. It wasn’t really underlying kindness.

Then I was successful in finding true love, only to find out my great success turned out to be a very selfish person. Great personality, but shallow and self-centered.

Finally, enter the wonderful person who became my spouse of 50 years, who loved me in spite of my flaws and accepted me as I was. The one who also harangued and challenged me to achieve my potential.

This individual who gave of self to me, who asked only for my love in return.

I could only show my loving behavior, not the words. Then came illness and the showering of kindness from others.

Cards of condolence arrived upon my loved one’s death from those I barely knew. Gifts came from strangers to ensure Christmas presents under my tree.

People who befriended me, helped me through a year of aloneness, were showing lessons to me.

What can I do to repay such a debt?

Am I old too soon, and smart too late?

I expect if I look around, there is a friend hurting, in trouble.

Needing kindness, needing love.

Let me know how you are doing. I care.

Contemplation: What is the place of kindness and love in the world?


Lynn Brooke © 2023, 2024

© 2024 Our New Chances


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page