This post was inspired by The 13th Gift by Joanne Huist Smith, memoir about how random acts of kindness transformed her family’s bereavement and grief during the holidays. Join From Left to Write on October 28th as we discuss The 13th Gift. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.
I knew when I signed up to review this book that the book would probably hit a little too close to home for me and I was right. For those that don’t know, just like the characters in The 13th Gift, I lost a loved one during the holiday season. For me it was my Dad and I was 13 at the time. So although the book made me shed some tears it also reminded me of some of the gifts that my family was given during that difficult time in our lives.
I grew up in a very small town. Very very small. My graduating class from high school was 67 people if I remember correctly and at the time we were one of the biggest classes to come through the school. Growing up in a town that small has its advantages and disadvantages. One of which (and it can go to either side of the spectrum) is that everyone knows everything about everyone. So when my Dad passed away, everyone knew about it.
And as much as I didn’t like the attention (I just wanted everyone to treat me the same, being 13 was hard enough) I was and I still am appreciative of all of the gifts that were bestowed upon us.
We had people stopping by all the time dropping off casseroles and other food. Other people helped my Mom complete some of the house projects that my Dad never got to finish. Someone even had our wood furnace replaced with a gas furnace so that my Mom wouldn’t have to worry about it. Basically the entire community rallied behind us to help in any way that they could.
And while nothing could make up for my Dad being absent from our lives, those gifts that we were given made all the difference in helping us pick up the pieces and move forward.