She had just heard that her friend of 50 years had died. "I didn't even know she had cancer," she told me. She stared through the open door absently and said, "I didn't even know." I put the card back I was looking at and picked up a different one. The birthday greeting inside was exceptionally lame. I put it back. I turned to look at her. I watched her, curiously. Her light, white hair framed her pixie face. Her eyes were vibrant and sparkling. She was very lovely. I felt so young looking at her. Childish. Inexperienced. What wise condolences could I offer her? I prayed for her, silently. "It's very sad when your friends start dying," She said, looking at me. I couldn't say, "I know." Because... I didn't. "When you know someone for so long, it kills you when they leave you. It does, " she said, looking at me thoughtfully. I twirled the card stand, and watched the colorful cards spin. I tried to share in some of her pain by telling her of my friend who had just left that day for Marine boot camp. I think that made it worse and I berated myself for telling her. So, I decided to just listen, silently. Attentively. My heart going out to her, quietly. "I really hate goodbyes, you know." She said. "And... I've learned that, this is what life is; a series of goodbyes." Her soft, wistful voice smote my heart. "I really, really hate goodbyes." I ended up buying a card. I didn't want to leave so quickly, but I was late for an appointment. I tried to say everything encouraging and loving that I could think of. I walked to the door. She smiled, "Thank you for coming, dear," she said. I smiled too, wanting to run back over to her and give her a hug."Goodb--" I started to say. "I hope you have a lovely evening," I quietly said instead. I walked down the cracked sidewalk, clutching my card.

1 comment:

jen said...

age has so much to teach us.