Saturday, August 20, 2022

Love Letter: What We Do in the End

Just as with love, often we find kindness where we least expect to and often it shows up when we most need it.

I must be cruel to be kind” is one of the many idioms derived from a line in a Shakespeare play – in this case it is the prince, speaking in Hamlet - via BC

Sometimes those who give the most are the ones with the least to spare.

"Practice kindness all day to everybody and you will realize you’re already in heaven now," novelist and poet Jack Kerouac said. ( Taxing cruel recalibration, but thoughtful restructures are considered acts of kindness … in certain  executive manoeuvres)

Even though they often enhance happiness, acts of kindness such as giving a friend a ride or bringing food for a sick family member can be somewhat rare because people underestimate how good these actions make recipients feel, according to new research.

In his samizdat existential stories Vaclav Havel used to quote Absurdist Philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer who suggested that every problem (or truth) passes through three stages on the way to acceptance: “All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”

"It turns out generosity can actually be contagious," Kumar said. "Receivers of a prosocial act can pay it forward. Kindness can actually spread."

For more details about this research, read the McCombs Big Ideas feature story ( Medium) ( and watch the video ( explaining Kumar's work

Random acts of kindness make a bigger splash than expected

Losing a sibling, but choosing to be present and brave for the end

This week’s staggering Modern Love essay, “A Last Act of Intimate Kindness,” reminded me of a powerful Tiny Love Story we published years ago, “What We Do in the End”:

What We Do in the End

“Your sister is in the hospital,” my mother said over the phone. “You need to come home.” I had no idea that Jenny, a 44-year-old suburban mother, would be dead from prescription opioids just six days later. Although blindsided by her fatal addiction, I was grateful for those final days in the hospital: feeding my sister, shuffling her to the bathroom, singing show tunes (her eyes always closed) and telling her I loved her. That’s what we do in the end: the messy, tender, heartbreaking things. We are our best selves, even if it’s too late. — Kelly O’Connor

Today’s Modern Love essay echoes that last line: “We are our best selves, even if it’s too late.” When Michelle Friedman learned that her estranged brother was dying, she decided to face old wounds and regrets, and be there for her brother in his final hours.

Her essay is devastating but, in many ways, inspiring. You can read it below.