Faithful readers may recall that I posted a remembrance of a friend I had growing up named Leo on the page here late last year (you can find it by clicking this link). Leo was older than me, as well as being mentally challenged, but he was also a kind and generous person whose death affected my buddy Adam and I greatly. To this day, we think and speak of him often.
It turns out that Leo’s cousin found that blog post of mine recently, and wrote me a kind message in reply. I haven’t seen or spoken to her since that day, so it was nice to hear from her. The thoughts she shared mean a great deal to me. If you have a moment, I’d like to share part of that email* with you now:
“Dear Mr. Korbus,
I just saw the heartwarming piece on the internet that you wrote about Leo. Leo was my 1st cousin and I am probably the cousin who greeted you at the funeral home. My name is Patti and I made the funeral arrangements and helped my Uncle during this horrible time as did my other 1st cousins.
I and my family appreciate your friendship to Leo and we loved your kindness in coming to the funeral home and sharing your memories with us.
It has come to me in all the days that followed Leo’s passing that he was very much loved in the neighborhood. More than one would ever know. In spite of any of Leo’s problems he had a heart of gold and was constantly wanting to help people or give things away. I loved him and miss him. To know he had friends like you and your friends and that you still remember him gives me the pleasure of knowing that his life meant something. Sometimes people were unkind to him but to know how many lives he touched makes me feel at peace.
Thank you again.”
Seriously, how great is that?
I was overwhelmed as I read her email, and though my head was swirling, I quickly responded. I told her how wonderful it was to hear from her, and that I have never forgotten the warmth and kindness she showed towards Adam and I at the funeral home those many years ago. I told her that, while Adam and I do not live as close as we once did, and haven’t seen each other in well over a decade, we do use Facebook to keep in touch, and Leo seems to be a part of each and every conversation we have. Truly, we will never forget him.
We all get beaten down by life from time to time. Hell, I know I’ve had my share of days where I just want to sit down and cry for a while. But I have to tell you, hearing from Patti brightened my day, and really made me feel good about myself again. I know that the relationship I had with Leo was special, but receiving her email reminded me just how much it all meant to his family, too.
I’m all smiles today, friends. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that kindness isn’t magic.
*I edited only for clarity, and removed some names to protect the privacy of the family