Sunday, September 30, 2007


Yesterday, after she read my entry, Lessons Learned, my good friend Blythe said to me that I needed to add what people can say that will be helpful instead of just saying what not to say after I have told them my news about Karl. I thought about this after our conversation and the answer came to me on a walk in Duke Forest.

Little Bear and I were on our return trip to the wooden bridge and met a group coming toward me. I realized it was Adam Abram and his family. I worked for Adam part time 20 years ago as an office assistant in his commercial real estate firm while I was getting my plant nusery started. I stopped them and introduced myself. We have been distant neighbors all these years and our paths just haven’t crossed. They said they think of me often as they turn the corner and pass our nursery sign. I told them we had decided to have a “Going Out of Business” sale next spring. It was time for me to move on. They were full of good questions and I explained about Karl’s death and my need to do some sort of work around children. I also explained about our UNC book drive and they were most interested. I felt myself tensing up for the typical sharing of another’s medical story and to my extreme relief it didn’t come. The only thing that was brought up was of interest. Their handsome son explained that his college roommate had lost his mother to cancer and he had started a similar book drive in her memory.

I came away from our encounter feeling good. The words sympathy and compassion were running through my head. That is what I need as a response to my sad news of Karl’s death. They genuinely cared about how I was doing and did it in a way that didn’t leave me crying, but feeling good about the work I was doing in Karl’s honor.

So, compassion is what you should give. It doesn’t have to be long and wordy. Just real. Thank you Abram family for helping me find my answer and for your compassion.

Love, Kathy

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