Grief Observed

Yesterday I watched tenderly as a very old lady on a busy intersection, cane in hand, placed a stuffed teddy bear at the foot of a simple white wooden cross.

I was at a busy traffic light, on my way to work, and felt very much like an intruder, a witness to the horrific grief this woman was experiencing, tears flowing down her wrinkled cheeks, teddy bear being patted, picked up, placed down, and up again.

She couldn’t seem to make up her mind which direction of the cross the teddy bear should face and at one point, she just sat on the ground, staring, the teddy bear on her lap.

I wanted to open my door, ignore the honking people trying to get here and there to just sit with her, hold her hand, offer up a tissue or a hug. Instead, the light turned green and I can’t shake the image of her out of my head, as I said goodbye from my rear view mirror, watching as she took her hands off the bear and on to the cross itself, shaking from obvious sobs of grief.

I don’t know what happened or who this woman loved and lost. I want to tell her that she touched me, that she is forever connected to my soul, reminding me that death is part of being human, something we all have or will face. When you strip it all away, I am a breathing, loving, grieving soul, just like her.

So, I thank you, little old lady on Hwy 141 with hair in pink handkerchief, cane in hand.

I promise to pause and say a prayer for you when I pass by your white cross where you lost someone you obviously love so much. I am sure they were better for being loved by you.