What Comes Out

I was taking my Saturday morning coffee break from the part-time job at the grocery store. There appeared to be only one table available, next to a stately elderly woman with colourful winter hat and coat.

Initially no conversation as we both watched the passing queue of college students, elderly, hockey enthusiasts, young families and small children with doughnuts almost too big for their hands.

Eventually I passed a comment about how the proprietors of the shop appeared reluctant to take down Valentine's Day decorations. We each shared what we understood to be some of the history of St. Valentine. Then the woman mentioned that she still kept and treasured the very first Valentine's card ever received from her husband.

A significant pause followed.

"My husband died three weeks ago, you know." Quivering lip. The students across from us raised their voices about some issue in their group assignment for school.

"I think it marvelous that you are out today Ma'am. Probably he would have wanted it so."

What followed was a much needed five minute exchange about the final weeks with her husband and what he had meant to her. She was not forgetting him. Denying him. She was paying tribute to the man in her life, and in essence visiting with him again.

At time of departure, she smiled and the face said 'thank you'.

How easy was that to release some of the pressure of grief?


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