The year my wife was sick was full of ups and downs. Hope and despair. And time never seemed to go at a normal pace. There were days and events that were just a blur. Yet there were some moments that seemed to last an eternity.
One of those moments was on a quiet morning in the parking lot of the post office in the tiny town of Buckner, Arkansas.
I really don’t remember what time of year it was. It must have been spring of that year, May I think, but it could have been as late as July. And we traveled twice a week for chemo treatments, which were never very good. We took a load of supplies with us on the trips – something to drink, maybe a bite to eat, something to eat, a cd player and some cds, something to read, a pillow, and usually a blanket or two.
Most of the time my wife made the trip fairly easily, but there were exceptions.
This particular morning was an exception. Not far out of town, she started feeling really sick – sick to her stomach and she was having chills.
We were coming up to the small town, so I pulled over in the parking lot of the post office. I got out of the car, went around to the other side, and tried to get her comfortable. But nothing seemed to work. She couldn’t get comfortable, and nothing I did seemed to help.
And that’s when I kind of lost it. Well, not really, but it’s about as close to losing it as I ever came during that entire period. I’m not sure what it was – her sickness, the frustration of not being able to do anything to cure her, work, a non-sleeping baby, bills piling up, falling behind at work – it had all been building up for so long.
Anyway, I was about to come completely unglued. And that’s when it happened.
A woman walked over from her car to see if we needed any help. At the time, I worried that she thought I might be kidnapping someone, or maybe something worse – a strange thought to have at a time like that.
But I could tell she was genuinely concerned. And it was her care and compassion in moment where I felt I was at the center of chaos that really made a difference.
I told her no, but thank you. And I remember feeling so grateful for her concern that I felt like crying. It was very thoughtful of her.
I never knew her name. But at the same time, she never knew how much her small gesture meant to me.
Thank you. You were a bright spot during a terrible morning, and you gave me hope in the midst of a terrible year. And I’ll never forget the kindness you showed that morning.