An Open Letter to a Thoughtful Man
For the purposes of this open letter, the subject will be adressed as Mr. Kimble. -Ty
Dear Mr. Kimble,
I have one memory of you, but it is one of the most important memories of anything that I have in life.
You were a coworker of my father’s when he died. A short time later, maybe a week, you came to our house, with gifts for my sister and myself. I remember the pained look on your face when you got out of your car. I remember knowing why you may be feeling like that, even though I didn’t know who you were at the time. Just about everyone who came to see us in those days had a similar look on their faces.
Not that many people did come, and that is why all these decades later the memory of you coming with those gifts is so significant to me. Other coworkers of my father, friends of the family, even extended members of the family itself all sort of receded into the background in the weeks and months after my father died. I can’t say nobody else helped us at all, but those were lonely, empty times in that big house with only three people for a while. Empty of visitors, empty of supporters, empty of the slightest indication that most people appreciated the gravity of what happened. Empty of individuals that had known us for years and years.
Yet not empty of you and your gesture. I don’t know how long you knew my father, but I know that plenty of people had known him longer and better than you did. As I said, most of those people were nowhere to be found, scattered to the four winds in wake of his death. You came to the epicenter of grief. You made that choice, and it was an honorable one.
As was the choice to bring my sister and I gifts. I don’t remember what you brought my sister. I clearly remember that you brought me a Care Bear. Champ Bear to be exact. As a child I appreciated the toy, and part of me recognized that it was especially nice given the circumstances. I now of course understand how profound the consideration was on your part to offer it to me at my home.
I very much wish I still had the bear. Teens being what they are, making room for new stuff I at one point gave it away to Goodwill. Even then I appreciated the gesture looking back, but I regret not being sentimental enough about it to hold on to it physically. It was one of my big mistakes in such matters.
Yet I hold on to the memory and cherish the gesture now. It was heartfelt, rare, and impactful on my life even to this day, as so often the simplest gestures are.
So I thank you, Mr. Kimble, for the gift and the thought you showed in giving it to me. You hold, and will always hold a place of honor in my mind.
sincerely, Ty Unglebower
–This post is part of the Open Letter Continuum.