happy holidays

Walking back to work from Union Station post office when i’m approached by a young man asking for a quarter. His voice is very uneven.

“Man, you got a quarter?”
“No, but I have a dollar coin,” and reach into my coat pocket to pull one out and hand it over.
He starts to cry.
“I’m sorry. I gotta talk to somebody about this. I just found out my m-m-momma died.”
“Oh, man, what’d she die of?”
“Cancer. Over at KU.”
“I’m really sorry. How old was she?”
He continues to sob.
“Just take some deep breathes for a minute, OK? It’ll be all right. It’ll be OK.”
“What am I gonna do?…I took care of my momma…I was a good son.”
“Cancer can get anybody. It ain’t your fault. I’m sure your mom knew you loved her. Anybody else in your family you need to let know?”
Quietly, “Just me…”
He turns to walk away, then turns back, reaching his arms out to hug me, hesitating at first then continuing forward. I embrace him fully and tell him it’s all right.

But it’s not all right.

I walk back to my building and step into the elevator going up and I know it’s not all right.

happy holidays

2 thoughts on “happy holidays

  1. Adrianne says:

    I always think of my husband’s parents during the holidays. His dad died at 56 and his mom followed just past a year later at 63. That moment you shared with him will mean so much when his grief begins to subside. My husband says you never really get over it, but you do move on, and he really treasures the small kindnesses paid toward him at the time of their deaths.


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