I was in Chicago the weekend before Thanksgiving for a conference. The Saturday night tradition in this traveling technical show is for the speakers to go out to dinner together. I wasn’t speaking but I had been interviewing the speakers one by one and so they invited me along to dinner.
While we waited for everyone to show up, I spotted someone I’d been looking for all day. I didn’t think that he knew who I was but I needed to speak to him. I waited politely while he finished his conversation with an attendee. They wrapped up and he looked over at me. He had no idea who I was.
Months earlier he and his wife had sent us a large display of flowers when Elena died. It meant a lot to me then. I can’t explain it, but it meant even more to me there in Chicago when I realized that it was an act of kindness from a man who didn’t really know me.
This year has been full of discoveries like that. People have pointed to this blog and sent me kind notes. There have been people who have suffered losses like a mom who has lost more than one child to a man who lost both his twin and his wife. Some have been neighbors who I have not yet met and some have been from countries I have never visited.
They wrote to me in February, in March, and in months since. To me, even though they wrote to me at all times of the year, I associate this reaching out with this time of the year. This giving to people we might not know.
There have been people who haven’t suffered losses who have written and posted. Perhaps that’s not correct. Everyone has suffered a loss. It’s probably more correct to say that that’s not why they are writing and posting and linking. There’s a woman in England who links in from time to time. I’ve just recently noticed that she grew up quite close to where I did. There are fathers and mothers who have written to say they look at their children a bit differently.
Often I learn a lot and am touched the deepest by talking to these people.
After that dinner I rode the elevator up to my room with another speaker I hadn’t met before tonight. He reads the blog. He told me that his mom had died a few years earlier at a very young age. He hadn’t realized until then how often we reference mothers in our traditions and every day life. It was such a nice comment that connected deep inside to Kim and my situation.
Thank you all for your thoughts, your time, and your support. Whether you’ve responded or just read. Whether you check in daily or just now and then. It all helps in ways I can’t explain.
Whether you’re a long time friend or one of the people I’ve never met.