We celebrated my daughter’s birthday in a small gathering with a single candle on a chocolate fudge cake.
My daughter happens to share the birthday with my mother.
However, my mother passed a few months ago, so I couldn’t call, send her a card, or buy her a gift. Spending the day with my daughter meant even more than usual.
But I was okay – on that day.
However, the following day, upon walking into Costco, I encountered a display of European Style Cookies with Belgian Chocolate. I fell into memory: A few years ago and sent my mother a box. She loved them so much that, last year, for her birthday, she said, “I only want one thing – send me those cookies again!”
Tears clouded my vision. My trip abandoned. I rushed to the parking lot.
I started my car and began to back up but was stopped short. Not one, but two cars waited behind me for a free spot somewhere close to the front of the store. The lot was not filled. There were spaces everywhere. But these people preferred front row and decided to block the aisle in order to get it. A guy in the truck next to me tried to pull out. Witnessing the unnecessary traffic jam, he smiled in my direction and slammed into reverse, expecting them to get out of his way. They did.
My phone rang. An unfamiliar voice identified herself being from my insurance company. In my frame of mind – she wasn’t making sense. I tried to listen and clarify, but my already hazy thoughts grew thick.
I suddenly needed to get off the phone. I needed to get out of that parking lot. I just needed to get home. “I’ll just talk to someone else,” I snapped.
Poor Jennifer. She did nothing to deserve my emotional overload.
Jennifer responded as a professional, which I appreciate immensely. Thank you, Jennifer, for being who I could not at that moment.
Grief strikes at odd times, never when you think it will.
Usually, when someone lashes out, it’s because they have some unspoken pain. Previously, when I’ve been on the opposite end of that flare, I’ve tried to respond like Jennifer did – pleasant, polite, and understanding it is not about me; it’s about them and whatever they’re dealing with.
This modern world is challenging, stretching us to our limits. Many, many people have lost loved ones and jobs. There has been a lot of changes in society and our personal lives. It’s overwhelming.
Let’s try to be respectful of one another. Let’s give each other space to grieve.
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