While I was at the writers’ conference, I avoided telling anyone about my grandfather’s death. I didn’t want them to treat me any differently than they usually would.
There were, however, a few people who were quick to see that something was wrong. One of them was a man I’d only met twice before and was still getting to know. He told me he could tell that I was sad because he was about to lose his wife of twenty-five years to cancer. Our grief connected us. We were both going through something painful that didn’t let us be entirely part of the jollity around us.
His strength, and his wife’s, were an inspiration to me to keep going no matter what. And having him there at the restaurants and bars, in the hotel lobby where people gathered after events, was strangely comforting. Just having someone know made a big difference. I didn’t feel so isolated.
Knowing about his pain also opened the door for compassion in me. I loved my grandfather, but I doubt that my grief even approaches the pain this man is feeling about what is rapidly approaching for himself, his wife, and their children.
I’m currently praying that his wife will recover miraculously from this attack on her life, and I’d really appreciate it if anyone who reads this could send a prayer, a good vibe, or a good thought for them. I don’t think it will make any difference that I haven’t told you their names (I don’t want to do that without asking permission, and can’t do that without opening myself up to more inquiry than I can stand right now).