I met my neighbor today in our underground parking garage. Looking lost and alone without his wife. The two of them are the cutest little senior couple: the same height, always walking at the same pace. They always stop and talk, veering towards me in the parking lot or the foyer or the hallway of the building. Remembering my name and asking about my work. But today his wife wasn’t with him. He was alone.
And he give me a hug, something he’s never done before. And he told me that “this living alone thing is more difficult” than he thought it would be, and that he’s “ not a very good cook”.
And I wondered what has happened to his wife? Has she died since the last time I saw him? Is she sick?
But I was too afraid to ask.
He looked sad and unsettled but I couldn’t tell if he wanted to talk about something that may be the most personal thing in the world and if the parkade was an appropriate place to mourn.
But I hugged him again before we parted promising myself that I’ll find out the truth behind his sadness and perhaps inviting him over for an afternoon tea.
We are surrounded by people whose realities are dramatically shifting. These people drift in and out of the parameters of our day seemingly in a constant state
but the reality is
tectonic shifts are happening.
These emotional shifts are happening in the lives of people we work with, people who live in our neighborhoods, people we meet in parkades. How often do we take the time to notice? To validate the importance of what it is they’re going through by acknowledging their existence.
Through a smile,
or even a hug.
“Comfort is the only thing our civilization can give us.” Oscar Wilde