When he found his ex-wife's obituary, he found the contact info for several of the people who signed the registry and wrote to them to find out more information. He's heard from a couple of them and forwarded their notes to me.
She died of breast cancer in the home of a friend (her only living relative has alzheimers).
But the notes he forwarded included his note to them and I was so struck by how amazing his notes were. They were genuinely compassionate. He shared - very lovingly but also appropriately, an overview of his relationship to Fran and asked for more information in a manner that gave them the guilt free freedom to not reply at all if that's was their desire.
It reminded me of some things we found when Mom and I were going through her stuff and tossing out old papers. I found a folder of letters about Bill from his time in the Navy. There were commendation letters and stuff but also some letters from people who's family members had died. Apparently, part of his Naval duties involved informing families of the death of a family member.
These people had written to his commanders thanking them for Bill and praising what he had done for them. They were the reason tissues were invented.
This was not a time of war so these people had no expectation that their son or daughter would be killed while in service to their country and yet...
They wrote of the amazing support and kindness and thoughtfulness that my little brother had provided them - complete strangers - at a time when they needed it most. And it was just part of his job. And these people were so moved and grateful that even in their grief and sorrow they took the time to write to this stranger's boss?!
He got every part of that gene. I got no part of that gift/skill. I got the Run The Other Way version.
Sometimes he makes me a little frustrated, my brother. But mostly I look at him and think of the annoying 2 year old and am so amazed at the wonderful man he has become.