i don’t mean for this post to come out at all tongue-in-cheek, since it is actually really sad…

some of you will remember when we were in the news a lot and one of the stations interviewed an anonymous neighbor who didn’t like the garden and said we should put it in the back. she was sitting on her front porch and they only showed the bottom of her legs and her shoes. the thing that seemed ironic to many people was that her porch was covered in that green plastic lawn carpet stuff.

anyway, since this is a small community in a small town, we found out who it was within a few hours. and this woman’s story is so sad and i’m gonna give you the highlights.

she had a child die of cancer when he was around 13 years old. she had an adult child with leukemia that had gone into remission and come back several times.that child also died, leaving several small children of her own.

about a year and a half ago this woman and her husband went to a wedding. as her husband was dancing happily, he suddenly fell down dead. i wish i was making that up.

around the time of out garden fiasco, i learned that this woman had cancer too. it wasn’t far enough along that you could tell when you saw her, so people like me who weren’t close to her respected her privacy and didn’t mention it.

when we spoke to the folks at the colbert report, they thought it would be really funny to poke at the “anonyomous” lady. i told them she was absolutely off-limits, and then i explained to them why. they never did the story, and everyone went on about their business.

well, time marches on, and this woman passed away last night.

i came home from a doctor appointment and a bunch of my neighbors were walking around like zombies. i asked my neighbor’s daughter if she’d just had a root canal, since she looked so miserable. and she told me that the woman died.

OMG. deep breath. sudden but not. shocking all the same. upsetting deeply.

honestly, i don’t know how she kept going at all, considering all of the suffering in her life. i just hope she is in a better place now, reunited with her loved ones.

people asked me way back when if i was angry at her for speaking against us.

why would i have been angry? she didn’t say anything malicious. she wasn’t mean or nasty. she was just stating her opinion and it happened to be different from mine. no harm, no foul.

and boy, am i ever glad that i bore her no malice. could you imagine how i would feel right now if i knew i was responsible for adding additional pain into her life? can you even imagine what a hell her last few months could have been if she had been the butt of jokes and public ridicule?

so, as a firm believer that we get back what we put out, i am just writing this as a cautionary tale.

when someone does you wrong, try to imagine what might be wrong for them.

when someone slights you, think about how slight they might be feeling.

when someone hurts you, assume that their own personal hurt is just bubbling over.

of course, this is easier said than done, and i can tell you honestly that it’s much easier to practice this skill in situations that don’t matter so much.

but, it’s a skill worth practicing, and the more you do it, the easier and more automatic it gets. it’s a character trait worth acquiring and refinfing, and it’s one i sincerely hope you don’t have to use too often.

and i wish this woman’s loved ones everywhere comfort in their time of mourning.