I was at a craft show a couple of weekends ago. The weather was awful–freezing rain coating the icy snow on the ground that fell overnight. As soon as I got through the door, I stopped to shake it off of me. The first thing I saw was a table of scarves and hats, and the small dark-eyed woman standing behind it caught my eye.
I took a minute to look at the items on the table. I noticed a black and white scarf that I knew would make a great gift for a number of the people on my list.
I asked, “How much is this?”
“Fifteen dollars,” she replied, “and you can pick a free cookbook from the box,” she added, hopeful, hands clasped in front of her.
I looked down. The ‘cookbooks’ were some old cooking magazines from 2008.
Well, all-righty then.
As she was wrapping it up, I was looking through my bag for my checkbook (note to self: Clean this damn thing out!).
I asked, “Did you make these?”
“Yes. Well, me and my daughter did. And then after she died, I made some more myself,” she told me.
What? Oh, no.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” I told her, and suddenly found myself hugging her. “Yes, it was hard,” she said, and proceeded to tell me about how her diabetic daughter who couldn’t feel her feel very well had a blood sugar drop that caused her to get into a car accident. “She went through the windshield and died instantly, the…the….” she trailed off.
“Medical examiner?” I offered.
“Yes! Yes, the medical examiner said. She didn’t feel anything, he said, and that made me feel a little better, but I was still pretty sad. Until my birthday,” she said.
This is what happened on her birthday: She and her husband were having lunch, feeling the feelings only parents who have lost their child feel. Suddenly, her glass of water slid across the table. About four inches. By itself. “I said, ‘Did you see that?’ to my husband. “‘That’s her wishing you a Happy Birthday,’ he told me, and we both teared up. Then I felt much better. I knew she was okay.”
Sometimes, people just need to tell their story.
Even if they aren’t writers.