I was told that grief can happen suddenly in random public places. It’s true.
For example, the first month after my momma passed, I was in the chiropractor’s office and saw a woman about my momma’s age at the counter. Suddenly, in that brief second, I realized that my beloved momma would never be at a counter again. I silently cried.
Seems like that happens, you know? The reminders can appear out of the blue on some random day, at some random place.
Like, yesterday. We took a road trip and ended up at a new-to-us restaurant. There was a 20 minute wait, so we sat by the door.
Pretty soon, a group of women started heading out the door. A few went out, while one would hold the door for more coming. They looked to be about my momma’s age.
I could not contain the waterworks. Cheeks wet. In a restaurant. On a Saturday.
What’s the big deal? Well, you see, my momma was a part of a group similar to that. She and her besties from high school stayed friends through the years. They traveled together, ate together, and hung out together.
Seeing the group of women was like the scene from the chiropractor’s office. A sudden realization that she’s not here and won’t be out to eat with her besties again.
A few minutes after they left, my cheeks dried.
We were seated, placed our order, and I glanced around the room. Nearby was a couple, about my parent’s age. She had beautiful clothes, short gray hair, and when she smiled at me, there went my tears, at the table.
I tried to contain them, I mean, who wants to see a woman crying at a restaurant? I gently wiped my face, thought of something else, and turned my attention to the baseball game on the tv.
The reality that hit? My parents won’t be eating at a restaurant again. That my momma, with her short gray hair and fancy clothes she loved, won’t be offering her smile to a family sitting nearby or to me, again.
I can tell you this, I had zero intentions of walking into a place to eat and crying. It was not on my agenda and I never would’ve guessed it.
It happened anyway.
The couple left and we are about done eating, when a young gal sat down at a nearby table. She was alone and was writing. It brought to mind a movie I’d seen where a music writer sat in a diner, writing.
She had a kindness to her. She complimented my son’s shoes and shirt. She smiled my way, often. It reminded me of that saying, ’you may be entertaining angels unaware.’
My husband and son went outside while I waited for the check. After a moment of silence, she spoke to me.
“You have a beautiful smile. It lights up the whole room.”
Huh? What? ME??? Me, who had been trying to hold back tears for an hour?
I thanked her. Like, poured on the thanks. Then, I continued to wait for the check.
I paid, got up to leave, and found myself pausing at her table. I told her that I’d lost my momma recently and that I’d had tears while there. Clearly, I was surprised she noticed my smile.
I was met with complete grace and understanding. If compassion could be bottled, the run over would’ve been making a puddle on her table.
It’s not that she knew what I was enduring there, but it was that she understood it. She mentioned a significant loss herself a few years ago. She told me I have a beautiful family.
I didn’t even see it until just now. Here I was, noticing women my momma’s age, because I lost my momma. And, maybe she was noticing me and my family, because she lost her husband…
Oh my goodness, the tears today, I think I’ll just let them run.
If you have gone through any sort of loss, my heart goes out to you.