Although we think we know all about our loved ones, and we do know a fair bit, there are things we do not know. Often we travel in much the same circles socially and we do have some connection with our partner’s work colleagues, and likely little or no connection with their casual acquaintances. In other words there may indeed be people that know our loved one and do not know us. More importantly though, we do not know them.
Sometimes these seemingly casual relationships can be significant for the one not known to us. Our loved one may have made someone’s day without knowing it. They may have been kind or helpful to some one who needed some support. Often times we know nothing of them.
Such was the case with my late brother Peter’s janitor friend Sam. Peter, a friendly and outgoing sort, befriended Sam in his time of need, really helped him out of a jam. Sam and Peter’s friendship grew and as they passed each other in the halls of the federal government building where they both worked. They often kibitzed about hockey. Peter was a Montreal fan and Sam was a fan of the Edmonton Oilers. I had no idea who Sam was or that he even existed.
Thankfully, in a relatively small community, news spread of Peter’s Celebration of Life. Sam found out and came. He got a chance to meet Peter’s family and thank us for Peter’s kindness. Sam and I exchanged cell numbers and the kibitzing shall continue! We were lucky in this case as was Sam we got to know each other through Peter’s death.
In larger centers friends and family aren’t quite so lucky and the unknown friends may not get the chance to say good-bye to their friend and hello to the family. The family misses the opportunity to see their loved one through the eyes of these apparent outliers.
Interesting challenge to be sure. How do create the opportunities that ensure we all get to say both good-bye to a loved one or dear friend and hello to new friends and family.
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