Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Small Kindnesses (Blogsplash)

Before and since Andrew died, I have received many kindnesses which might seem small and fleeting but have helped a lot. Only today, for instance, someone I've known a long time encountered me in town and gave my shoulder a quick squeeze as she asked, 'How are you?' Her eyes were full of compassion, gazing into mine. 'Take care,' she said as we went our ways. A brief exchange. It was obvious she felt inadequate, yet still offered what she could. I won't forget her loving look and touch in a hurry.

That is just one example.

There is the woman fairly new to our writers' group, who invited me to Christmas lunch with her and her husband. 'That would be lovely,' I said, 'But I want to get away for a few days over Christmas and just be quiet. I'm trying to decide whether to ask my niece or my son to have me.'

'You're welcome to come to us for a few days,' she said. 'You can sit on the veranda and look at the trees.' They have a property out of town. She added that her husband is not very talkative and their neighbours on both sides will be away. How perfect! I accepted of course. My next door neighbour, who loves cats, has agreed to look after mine for those few days, as she too prefers a quiet Christmas.

And yesterday another friend from the writers' group took me out to a poetry reading in the nearby town of Lismore, as a late birthday present. It was noble of him, as he doesn't actually care much for poetry himself. (But there was music too.) The reading was disappointing — such polite poetry! — but it was lovely to have an outing on a perfect Spring day, to be driven through beautiful country, and to talk about books and writing and our lives.


I remembered how, some years ago before Andrew became so ill, we used to go to Lismore for dinner and live theatre, or to participate in pub poetry readings — exciting readings, the poetry far from polite. I told my friend I should take him to a 'real' poetry reading, and mentioned that there used to be some at Byron Bay. That triggered his own recall. When he first came to this part of the world some years ago, he actually used to go to to poetry readings like that, in Byron Bay, and even enjoyed them. He looked at me with an air of discovery. 'You're a Bohemian!' he said.

'Of course!' I said. 'Did you not notice?'

We went home through Nimbin, and that brought back other memories, of the market stall Andrew and I had there for a number of years, on the third Sunday of every month. He did Reiki and Indian Head Massage; I did psychic readings using my Tarot cards and crystal ball. It was our favourite market, and very good to us.


Reminiscing about these things put me back in touch with who I am, and reminded me of the life Andrew and I had together before it got to be all about taking care of his health and wellbeing.

'There was life before all that nursing.' I said to my friend.

And why am I writing on this theme?  It's good to visit the past and remember. It's good to to rediscover who I am. But also I'm participating in a blogsplash to help celebrate the release of Fiona Robyn's new book, Small Kindnesses. It's called a blogsplash because lots of others around the world are doing it too. We're 'making a splash,' you might say.

In honour of the occasion, Kindle is making the ebook version available free just for today on both Kindle UK and Kindle US.  Race on over there, quick! Fiona is a lovely writer.

P.S. And if you like kindness, click here for more tales in the blogsplash!


  1. It's funny how things people won't even remember doing can touch our hearts, because it came from theirs. Thank you for reminding me that I need to reach out to others, sometimes, even if I don't feel like I know how to be kind.

    1. Ina dear, you reach out to me with kindness all the time! And I thank you. :)

  2. Thank you for sharing. There is so much kindness in people's hearts and it is such a simple thing to give.

  3. Thank you for this reminder too, dear Rosemary. Sometimes when we think of so much of others that we forget to take out those moments to give ourselves a bit of self-kindness and care too!

    Thank you for sharing this. <3

    1. Now that I am not busy being Andrew's carer, I can give more care to myself again. And I do, even though it feels a bit hollow sometimes. I know I must, so as to fulfil whatever purpose I have in this world, and hopefully to avoid a sick old age like his. But I also very much need and appreciate what others offer at this time. It makes all the difference really.

  4. Catherine van Vliet-SaivresDecember 2, 2012 at 11:49 AM

    So much wisdom in your words Rosemary... Life can be so easy, small kindnesses should be a natural gift.

  5. Catherine van Vliet-SaivresDecember 2, 2012 at 10:51 PM

    Thank you Rosemary, I was thinking of you a great deal yesterday as we had a gathering with the Van Vliets. Anja, my sister-in-law and her partner just came back from a 5 weeks trip in Australia. They took many pictures and were extremely enthousiastic about your country! Love, Catherine

  6. Catherine van Vliet-SaivresDecember 3, 2012 at 8:27 AM

    Who knows? I would love it!


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