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  • Cheryl


Have you had moments when you realize that what you do or who you are is NOT normal in comparison to others?

First, I don’t like grocery shopping; too many choices, it is sensory overload! (A blog for another time.) By the time I get to the checkout line, I am tired and ready to escape the store.

On this day, an older man was in front of me; by older I mean very gray, slow moving and by the items on the belt, lived alone: chocolate milk, coffee, two TV dinners, and donuts. We are waiting and I simply said, “Hello, how are you today?” He looked surprised and responded back with some pleasantry.

In the span of five minutes, he told me his story about his children being too busy to visit much. He showed me his bracelet that his great-granddaughters made him, one for prostate cancer and the other one, just because. Out of the blue, he said to me, “You are very nice.” And when he left, we laughed that he should not eat all the donuts at once and that coffee went better than milk.

I was sad after talking with him; it was a VERY palpable feeling that there are so many elderly people ALONE, because we are all too busy to sit and listen. I know I will never see him again; I wondered what it must be like to be alone after one loses a spouse of many years.

Second stop: the cashier engaged me in a conversation, sharing her work frustrations and what was facing her on a holiday weekend with some additional struggles. We talked for several minutes, all while she was working, but she just continued to tell me her situation. I simply listened, and helped her laugh with some quippy comments.

Third stop: the cashier told me he was 23 years old and had just only started talking with his mother. I told him I was sad for him, because not all moms are like that. He was an injured young man and said I will work on that, but I do not trust her and I wondered all these years what was wrong with me that she did this or treated me this way.

I went to my car, exhausted and that the world is heavy and sad and burdened. I was too weighted to do any more errands, even if I wanted to.

I told a friend about my day: She questioned me, “You really had these conversations with people?” Yes and I paused, literally floored and said, you mean this does not happen to you? No she said, with a gentle chuckle. This is not typical…

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