Several weeks after my dad died, while I was still in the tender and raw stages of grief, I received an unusual condolence card. I opened the card and out fell 100 $1 bills along with this note, "When I have been deep in grief, it often helps me to be generous with others. I offer you these bills to generously give to others in whatever way is meaningful to you. I know this will not eliminate your grief, but perhaps it will ease it just a bit."
What an amazing, generous and thought provoking gesture! Immediately my mind shifted from my own pain to how I might in some small way ease the pain of others. A gossamer thread of healing began to wrap gently around my own aching heart as I pondered how to grieve with generosity.
I held onto the money for months, pondering all the possibilities of how to pass it on. Finally, last month as I was heading to upstate NY to return my dad's ashes to his beloved Lake Champlain, the time seemed right. I traveled by plane, bus and automobile to get there. Throughout my travels, I quietly, but joyfully left bits of my "generous grieving" money along the way. In the airport, I left dollar bills in random places. At the bus station, I left money to help with bus tickets for others. On the seat of the bus driver, I dropped a handful of bills on my way out the door. And on the drive out to Wilsboro Point, we stopped at a Dollar General Store where I left dollar bills tucked into children's books that only cost a dollar each. All were small little gestures, but the opportunity to be generous in memory of my dad warmed my heart each time.
To my friend who sent me this gracious gift (you know who you are!) I am forever grateful for your generosity with me so that I could grieve generously. What a healing gift you gave to me and so many others along the way. As my dad would say, Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!