Friday, August 5, 2016

You Never Know How Your Words Touch Someone Else's Life

A colleague of mine from Australia posted the following on Facebook. It brought tears to my eyes because as a writer I never know how my words will change other people's lives.

Today I supported a friend as she said goodbye to her family home for the final time. Her mother passed away 8 months ago, the house was sold, the contents disposed of, settlement is at 1pm today. I stood back as my friend said goodbye to each room, together we made carpet angels (like snow angels but on the carpet) and touched taps and other fittings for the final time. There was a book on the floor in the master bedroom. I moved to pick it up and my friend said "No, leave it for now, Mr Klein must be the last to leave". I gave her my confused look, my friend said the author's name is Klein.

She told me how her father died 14 years ago and at the funeral someone had given her mother the book, it's titled "The Change Your Life Quote Book" (now re-titled "Change Your Life" A Little Book of Big Ideas"). She told me how it lived on her mother's bed side table and every morning her mother would pick it up and read a quote for the day. She would say "Good morning Col" her husband, and "Thank you Mr Klein" and at night another quote and "Thank you Mr Klein, Goodnight Col".

She said her mother never let the book leave the room, it lived on her bedside table. When it was time to leave the house there was one more goodbye to each room and then 'Mr Klein' was collected but before my friend left the master bedroom she said "Dad, it's time to go, but you know that, look after mum". And then she looked at the book, opened it to a random page and read this quote "I live by this credo, have a little laugh and look around you for happiness instead of sadness. Laughter has always brought me out of unhappy situations. Even in your darkest moment, you usually can find something to laugh about if you try hard enough," Red Skelton. Then she closed the book and said "Thank you Mr Klein, you always know the perfect saying".

We raided the garden one last time, not a bloom was left and then when we got to the car my friend handed me the book. It was only then that I saw that the author was Allen Klein, of San Francisco! I started the next sentence to my friend with the words "You are so not going to believe this......... I told her about you, about your connection with laughter and joy, our connection through AATH (Association of Applied & Therapeutic Humor) and AATH's conference at the Red Skelton centre, the author of the very quote she read and many many more connections, on and on.......

I did wonder if it was the same Allen Klein and then I saw this quote "As long as I have food and remote control, I'm happy" Margie Klein (author's mother).

At this moment I am the holder of the book. It will sit on my bookshelf until my friend is ready to have it back, so, as has been said twice a day for the past 14 years or so, or around 10,000 times or more - thank you Mr Klein!!