It seemed simple enough. A mother giving her daughter a hug. “I know it was a hard day yesterday.” This could have meant anything. Money was short. Her husband was sick. The furnace malfunctioned. But my grief ears perked. I saw that brief moment of anguish before she disguised it. Later, I learned her story.

Her son died 2 years ago. I mustered the nerve to talk to her. (Why is it still so hard?) As I shared a brief version of my story, she looked at me with such wonder and amazement….I suppose she was questioning why (or how) I still walk and talk and visit farmers markets….. 14 years later. Her days, weeks, months are still filled with raw pain. Each year seems to be worse than the one before. I tell her that each of my first 3 years got worse. I don’t know if I should have said this, especially since she’s only 2 years out. I want to give her hope. But for me, for us, it still is hard.

We spoke again yesterday. There’s an easy connection. We talked about how “it” changes our lives. We now know what really matters in life. We try to convince ourselves we’re better people now. But we know we’re really just different people. Changed. With a gaping hole that will never really close.

So my new friend and I smile at each other. We know we will deepen our relationship….in time. Her fresh pain and my old scars. Not much different, really.

~Barbara Goldsmith