My father passed away 26 years ago. To this day, the thing that I most remember about him was his kindness.
It did not matter who you were relative to him – family, friend, or stranger – my father was always kind. Your heritage, politics, religion, age, IQ or status did not matter to my father – he was always kind.
One miserable winter day, my dad saw an old man passing by in a thin, worn sweater. Dad called him into our shop and told him that he had been going through some jackets that someone had given him and asked if he could take one off his hands. The old man said he would be grateful for one, if there was one to spare. Dad took a warm jacket off of our coat rack, held it out to the old man and nonchalantly said “This one should fit about right”. The old man left, not only with Dad’s best winter jacket but with his dignity as well. That was just Dad’s kind way.
When Dad was eighty years old he developed cancer of the sinuses. He lived and suffered unimaginably for four years with it. The last few months of his life were spent in hospital. He weighed less than fifty pounds. His face was disfigured and his body was skeletal. His entire diet was tea and soft toast. He was so weak that he needed to be lifted up onto pillows to sit up. At his funeral, the parish priest spoke about what a good man Dad was and about the condition he was in the last few months of his life. He said it was difficult to go to visit him because it was so heart wrenching to see the condition he was in. But, he would go to visit him and when he got there Dad would insist on being propped up on his pillows. He would thank him for coming and then he would ask how the renovations on the church hall were going. He would tell him about our latest family news. Before long it would be time for the visit to end and the priest would leave, always amazed, at how pleasant it had been. Even dying, my father, could not stand to see people uncomfortable. He was that kind to the end.
November 13th is ‘World Day of Kindness’. Having grown up with the father I had, I believe every day should be ‘World Day of Kindness’. I think we should always strive to be better and what can possibly be better than being kind?