An Afternoon Visit
And One Hidden SorrowMy mother gave a copy of my book to friends of theirs who were in their 90s. The woman is losing her sight to macular degeneration. Every night the woman's husband would read to her from my book. How precious is that? He read to her, chapter by chapter, until they came to the end, so it took a while.
After they finished the book, I was invited over to their home for a visit. There were a few questions she wanted to ask me from things I had mentioned in the book. She's a petite woman with gracious ways. We sat in their living room and the lovely conversation began.
Since she isn't able to see well anymore, she told me how she delighted in the details about nature I had described in my book. She said she could see Lookout Point through my eyes. I was asked about my family, my work as a teacher, and some about how I'd worked through troubles in my life. She told me about her family history and her life.
She and I had the most lovely visit. Her husband had baked homemade oatmeal cookies with raisins for us which he offered to us. Later he sent the leftover cookies home with me, and I offered them to the kids who carpooled with me that same afternoon.
Her husband left us to let us do girl-talk. Over the course of a couple of hours, this elderly couple treated me like royalty. Their smiles were genuine. They were glad to meet me. Beautiful people make you feel welcome. And they did that and more.
Long into the conversation, the woman shared how she'd also lost a brother the very same way I had lost my sister, to suicide. The subject turned to suicide: what happened, suicide's aftermath, and how you make sense of it. I wondered at the time if that was the real reason I'd been invited.
I am approached in private when someone has lost a loved one to suicide. Usually it is a hush-hush subject, for good reason. Suicide is difficult to talk about, even after decades. People want answers, but there are no adequate answers. But we can sorrow, and we can hope together. I hope I brought her some measure of comfort.
I left their house with a song in my heart. It had been time well spent. I would meet them a few more times. Every time we would connect in a sweet way. The last time was at his memorial service. I learned a lot more about their life together. I'm so glad I got to meet them in their home. It was a highlight. Again, after the service, she and I talked for awhile, and we both were blessed.