In less than five minutes an elderly couple sat at the table right next to mine, not at any of the eight empty tables at Dunkin, but at the one directly next to me. It’s probably there table by the way the staff talked with them. I smiled, extended a “Hello, how are you?”. Let’s just say, I didn’t accomplish a stellar word count written and saved on my sequel BUT I did have my heart opened and humbled.
They asked if I was doing homework. I chuckled and explained I was taking advantage of some free time to write, working on the sequel to Where’s Heidi? One Sister’s Journey. This opened the door to share my faith. Through our conversation, I learned the woman has a children’s book out, she is just starting her journey. I found this so inspiring. We talked about book signings and how I “beat the pavement” to get the word out. It was a wonderful conversation, it made me miss my own grandparents.
They commented on my hand written notes in my notebook. I explained I still like to hand write my chapters before typing. My elder smiled and shared why she types, because it’s easier. Talk about a little role reversal, or generation reversal anyway. Moments of silence between our conversations were common. They enjoyed talking with each other and then randomly pulled me in with thoughts, questions, and insight.
God opened my heart to hear their life’s greatest loss, their daughter was killed at the age of ten. The tremble in his voice as he went back to that day to share it with me brought tears to my eyes, and to each of their own eyes. More than thirty years later, and in an instant, both were back to the day their sweet ten year old was killed and taken from their lives…but not their hearts. Heidi will be missing twenty years on April 3, 2014. This couple showed me that regardless of how many years pass after a tragic loss, or any loss, the pain and grief are just as real decades later.
I fought back tears each time they shared and my heart broke for them, yet rejoiced with them too. Both believe in God and have a relationship with Jesus and shared how they KNOW they’ll see their daughter again, as they enter heaven. We talked about how encouraging it is to trust God, when the world and life would discourage us. What is getting them through each day, their hope and knowledge of seeing their daughter again one day.
They remember the woman who held their daughter while she breathed her last breath. With tears in their eyes, “She wasn’t alone when she passed, and she isn’t alone now.” They know without a shadow of doubt where there girl is. This still chokes me up. I’m glad I paused from my writing and enjoyed their conversation. I did return to my writing more often than I should but I used my writing to keep me from crying.
As they left I told the woman, “I’ll be praying for you. Thank you for sharing with me.” With tears in both eyes and drip marks down her cheeks, she smiled with a “Thank you.” And they turned and walked out the door.
Loss leaves a forever imprint on our hearts…one day, when we trust God…we will be reunited.