The Color of Loss

Yesterday we went grocery shopping.  

A mundane activity that neither one of us particularly enjoy.

We had gotten to the end of the store where we always start our shopping, when a woman who was probably in her mid fifties came up beside my other half.

He stopped because he thought she was trying to get by us, but she stopped too.

She’s sighing, and looking a bit embarrassed.

We both look at her and wait.

Finally she says

“I watched you two come in, and I saw the way he put his hand on you with such affection”

She stammers a bit, and tears come to her eyes

“It just reminded me.. my husband.. he used to do the same thing no matter where we were.  He’s terminally ill with stage four cancer”

My other half and I are in a bit of a shock.

He’s talking to her, but my eyes are filled with tears, and I don’t know what else to do but hug this sad stranger, who’s wearing her pain like a trenchcoat for the world to see.

I hear him telling her that he does it all the time, and that it’s not even a conscious effort.  

That’s just how we are.  If we’re unable to hold hands, he usually has a hand on me, or an arm around me.

She says “It just spoke to me, and I wanted to tell you.. Just enjoy the little things.  I just felt drawn to speak to you when I saw you walk in.  You never know what kind of path God will have you on.  Just enjoy it while you can.

By this time, all three of us are crying.

I’m all but sobbing.

I ask for her husbands name and tell her I will pray for him.

We hug this stranger again, and she disappears.

Her actions, her words, her obvious pain struck a chord with both of us.

We stopped and hugged in the middle of the supermarket.

The entire time we shopped, we shed tears for this woman who’s name we didn’t even get.

It’s still breaking my heart today.

On the way home, he held my hand as he usually does, and I thought to myself 

“She’s going to be alone soon… This is what she was talking about”

My heart aches for her.

Her pain was so raw, and so very visible.

And still, she was spreading a message despite it all.

Don’t take anything for granted…..



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