I hesitate to post my thoughts - but widows understand, so I can do it here. I read this; http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/16/kmart-secret-santas-pay-strangers-layaway_n_1153210.html via a facebook post today. It's an awesome story. I love it.
But there is one line in there that only another widow would get. Only another widow would wonder about. Here's the passage:
Before she left the store Tuesday evening, the Indianapolis woman in her mid-40s had paid the layaway orders for as many as 50 people. On the way out, she handed out $50 bills and paid for two carts of toys for a woman in line at the cash register.
"She was doing it in the memory of her husband who had just died, and she said she wasn't going to be able to spend it and wanted to make people happy with it," Deppe said. The woman did not identify herself and only asked people to "remember Ben," an apparent reference to her husband.
Did you find it?
...she said she wasn't going to be able to spend it...
Is it just me, or did your thoughts go to - wait. How old is she? When did her husband die? I wonder if she is giving all her money away - "she said she wasn't going to be able to spend it" - because she is planning on killing herself.
Typing that, I feel panic. Should I tell someone? Alert them? Hello - big ol' flashing warning sign!
But not only was the donor anonymous, I also feel like - you know, I understand. And maybe she isn't suicidal. Maybe she just has too much monetary wealth and she is going to sell everything, buy a camper, and move to alaska. Or mexico. Or India. Maybe she cannot stand the thought of spending life insurance money on average, mundane things, and doesn't need to. Maybe she just needs to do something, to be some kind of good force in the world.
I guess I just had a wee little reaction to the subtext. The gloss-over - knowing full well that "kind widow in her mid-40s plays santa" is so incredibly much more than just a happy news story.
. - An addendum. Maybe I am a busy-body. I sent an email to kmart corporate. Then I looked up the assistant manager listed in the article, found the person I think is said asst. manager on facebook, and sent her an email. Of course, typing it, I was thinking - oh my god, what if this brings massively unwanted attention to the poor anonymous widow? What a horrible horrible thing I might be doing! But I typed anyway. I kept it kind of short, and told her that there are some warning signs in the woman's actions, and that if anyone knows her, they might consider reaching out to her. I said that the woman doesn't need attention or pity, but that love and acknowledgment - a card or a phone call - can sometimes be the difference between getting through one more moment, or - not. Thanks C - I wouldn't have thought of that one. I also encouraged said assistant manager to pass along the SSLF and Widows' Voice.
Maybe I did the wrong thing, and have brought unwanted attention to someone who does not in any way want it. But if said woman got through the whole Kmart without accepting attention, I bet she is pretty good at saying No to intrusions.
Meh. Must stop over-thinking.