We stood in a circle. The cool breeze wafting around us, a wonderful respite from yesterday's hot weather.
Someone new to me walked by, then dropped in, joining us. Everyone knew each other. The odd man out was you know who. That's okay. The unknown woman had heard about me. She checked me out.
No. Not that way.
any joy she could know. Depression oozed from her. A glaze filled her eyes as she stood across from me. If I got closer, I feared I would pick up her emotional disease.
Her shoulders slumped. Quiet, lethargic words escaped from her lips when she spoke. Her roots were from Cherry Hill, New Jersey,
Then the news. Eighteen months ago her son died. In his early thirties. That's why she looked as she did.
Defeated, tired and worn.
with the grief-stricken person often feel awkward. Leaning into the subject, I asked how old he was. Those grieving want to talk about their departed loved ones.
She opened up. This is the first step towards healing from loss. We open up about our feelings. We experience them. We do not stuff the hurtful, troubling emotions.
"These lip markings are the kisses I have for my son."
"Hearing your explanation, tears are filling my eyes," I said. An-other woman said, "Me too."
I was glad I ven-tured into this delicate subject with the woman I met today. We get to know a person when we become more aware of their softer sides. This happens when we know more about them than their name and what they do.
Whatever fears we have about what others think of our authentic selves can be over-come. This happens when we are moved by the boldness that being present offers: de-claring what is alive within. We are genuine, transparent.
In the process, we are our happier, truer selves. And life unfolds riches we would have never known, like being in touch with a mother who wears kisses for a lost son.