It was a melancholy day – you know the kind when you feel alone even though there are hundreds of people around you? Well, that’s the kind of day. It was rainy and cool and I ducked into my local big box warehouse store to just waste a little time. I found myself wandering from one sample station to the next, aimlessly eating brownies and hummus and cheese without really tasting any of it.
“I love your hair colors.” I looked up to see a woman who appeared to be about 15 years older than me. I smiled and said thank you.
“Why blue and purple?” Her look was quizzical but not judgemental. I told her the stories about my sisters and how these were their favorite colors and they made me happy. She nodded as if she understood everything. I talked about how tough it was to go on without them and yet, somehow I knew I had to live and enjoy the life that had been taken from them.
This sweet woman with curly gray hair, told me how she had lost her mother, her husband and her dog all in one year. I could tell it had been so very hard on her. We talked at length and she told me about how hard her husband had fought to overcome a devastating illness. But, on Thanksgiving morning, they were together in the kitchen and he collapsed with a heart attack and died.
We talked about love and about what we do when we feel alone. We each had our own method of finding joy and I shared my love of my grandchildren and the great joy they bring me. She smiled and nodded and talked about how many children and grandchildren she had – they were a great comfort to her. She even confessed she liked serving little tidbits of food to strangers to help ease the feeling of loneliness.
When I left the store that day I was no longer feeling melancholy. Instead I felt gifted. Two strangers met, talked and relieved a little heaviness off the shoulders of the other. I never once considered how this crazy blue and purple hair would enrich my life so much. But you know what? I bet my sisters knew.
They are sneaky like that!