Comfort Angel

by Susan on April 18, 2014 · 7 comments

in Angels,Connections

Peanut M&Ms. This happened because of a divine craving for Peanut M&Ms.

I’d been working all morning on a project for the hospital and had eaten lunch at my desk (again – a sacrifice I happily make in order to have more Writing Time in the morning), and suddenly I just couldn’t sit there any more. I needed a break. I needed Peanut M&Ms.

Which I’d have to take a long walk to get, since the shortcut to the cafeteria has been closed during construction of the new hospital. I didn’t care – something was needling me to get up and get moving.

I came out of my building, a small building on the hospital campus, and immediately noticed a woman on the front porch of the MRI building next to my building. She was leaning against the railing, bent at the waist, arms on the railing. Head hanging.

Something in me recognized her body language. And what her body was saying was,

Help me, please.
Just let me breathe for a minute.

I walked by. Wondering. And Knowing.

Knowing she was waiting for someone. Someone inside the MRI building.

I walked by. I was tempted to stop.

I walked by.

I headed for the cafeteria. I didn’t quite make it – I stopped at the espresso cart and bought a brownie instead, from a woman whose English I couldn’t understand and who couldn’t understand me (“No, not oatmeal cookIE, brownIEEE…”) but who was clearly very happy to see me.

I turned around and headed back, around the building, across the parking lot between the MRI building and my building.

She was still there.

Leaning against the railing, head resting on her arms.

I changed direction and headed toward her, but meandering around the perimeter of the parking lot. Indirectly, like I do with the horses. Like I did with customers at the store. Indirectly, so they wouldn’t feel me coming and spook. Until I was right next to her.

She raised her head, and made like to move out of the way.

“Excuse me,” I said. But instead of moving past her, I stopped next to her. “Are you OK?”

She stood up a little straighter, and nodded.

“Yes, I’m OK. I’m waiting for my husband,” she said, nodding toward the building. “I’m trying to be strong.”

I nodded. “Would you like a hug?” I asked.

She hesitated, then nodded. I took her in, and when she tried to pull away, I gave her another squeeze before letting go.

She came up with tears in her eyes. “We’re here to see if his glioblastoma is back,” she said. “They take the pictures, and then we go see the doctor to find out what they show.”

“I understand,” I said quietly. Boy, did I. The hope. The dread.

I wanted to say, “Don’t worry, everything is going to be all right.” Because I know it will be. But probably not in the way she wants.

So instead I asked, “Can I get you anything?”

“No,” she said, “Thanks.”

“I’ll keep you in my thoughts,” I told her, and we parted. Both of us with tears in our eyes.

And she was in my thoughts all afternoon, as I beamed her love and courage while I worked on my spreadsheets and formulas. I beamed faith that Everything Is Going To Be All Right. Because I know it’s true.

Even if it’s not the outcome you hope for. Everything is going to be all right.

Maybe she was able to stand up a little straighter. Maybe a little breeze of grace blew through her and she was able to take her first deep breath in… days.

Maybe the entire reason I got this job six months ago and had a craving for Peanut M&Ms that turned into a brownie was for that moment. That encounter. That chance for her to be Seen. To know that she isn’t alone.

Maybe that’s the entire point.

Of everything.

Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

{ 7 comments }

The Spark Plug Wire That Connects Us

April 9, 2014

“Hey Brian, long time no see!” I joked as I walked into the auto repair shop. It was only Tuesday, and I had just been in on Saturday to have The Corvette smogged – only to find out that it needed to have some significant work done to pass the inspection. I could have had […]

0 comments Read the full article →

Skin and Bones and Memories

March 30, 2014

The other day I was reading an excerpt from “Writing Life Stories,” by Bill Roorbach with Kristen Keckler, PhD, and this paragraph struck me: “And—I’m just realizing this—memory is what people are made of. After skin and bone, I mean. And if memory is what people are made of, then people are made of loss. […]

7 comments Read the full article →

New Normal

March 5, 2014

“New normal.” I dislike that phrase. It makes me uncomfortable. Because it’s new. And it’s dissonant. Normal should feel comfortable, because, well, it’s normal. But New Normal is new. And new can be fresh and shiny and invigorating. And – Or – it can be scary and uncomfortable. Like new shoes that haven’t quite been […]

6 comments Read the full article →

Pocket Watch

February 21, 2014

Yesterday, as I waited at the Crosswalk With the Fake Button And The Light That Changes In Its Own Sweet Time, I noticed a grizzled old guy in a white t-shirt and jeans. I noticed him because he had a silver chain going to the watch pocket of his jeans. Nobody does that any more. […]

0 comments Read the full article →

I Finally Get It

February 2, 2014

I finally get it. Thanks to tripping over a blog post by Julie Daley, I just had an insight into something that has been puzzling me. Puzzling me, in fact, since I accepted the calling to work in the world of Grief. Since I realized that working in the world of Grief is really working […]

1 comment Read the full article →

Happy Birthday, Bruce!

November 3, 2013

Happy Brithday, Bruce! You would have been 65 today, and it would be a significant event. You probably wouldn’t want a big party, but we would observe the day somehow… a drive through the country, a visit to a lake, the first eggnog of the year, orange cranberry muffins (you’d only eat the top – […]

4 comments Read the full article →

Hello, Universe, are you trying to tell me something?

September 5, 2013

I am sitting on the bed in my childhood bedroom, a room panelled in honey-colored knotty pine, listening to the rain on the roof just inches from my head. Now a resident of California, I haven’t heard the sound of rain in months, and the rumble of thunder is delightful, comforting. If I look out […]

2 comments Read the full article →

Remember Who You Are

July 30, 2013

This post was inspired by, among other things, recent posts by Justine Musk and Julie Daley and a note from my cousin, Maritherese. Thank you, ladies. Last year, in the Spring, I was preparing to lead a workshop. It was new. It was big. It was exciting. I was terrified. I stopped at my favorite park, […]

1 comment Read the full article →

The Road to OK

July 26, 2013

A fellow member of a FaceBook group posted a comment that made my heart ache. She had told her dying husband that she would be OK… but she wasn’t. Oh, she took care of the kids, she went to work, she put meals on the table… but she wasn’t OK. And she didn’t know how […]

4 comments Read the full article →