Monday, October 6, 2014

A well meaning stranger.

I was walking through the aisles of Walmart like I normally do on Monday morning, enjoying the quiet and trying to get my shopping done before the midday masses descend.

I could see a man shopping with his mother about fifteen feet in front of me.  He looked up and said very loudly, "Didn't you just have a baby?"

Please don't be talking to me, I pleaded slightly.  I glanced around and realized there was an older gentleman behind me but no one else.

"Did you just have a baby?" he questioned again loudly.

I steeled myself for the inevitable and forced a small smile.  "Yes.  In April."

"I knew it!  I'm in here every Monday shopping with my mom and I never forget a face!"  His voice was growing louder with excitement.

"What'd you have?"

"A girl."  I tried to reply quietly but he was fairly far away from me and even though I wasn't, it felt like I was shouting.

"Well, congratulations," he exclaimed as he started down the next aisle.  But before he moved on, he looked over his shoulder, held up two thumbs and said, "I hope everything went all right!"  He paused for me to give him the affirmative but instead I said, "She passed away."

The man behind me said, "Oh no!"

I heard a gasp from the next aisle.

And the whole store went silent.

The stanger that had been quizzing me muttered a quick "I'm sorry about that" and left.  And when I say left, I think he literally quit shopping right then, went to the check out and left the store because I didn't see him or his mother again.  I've got a feeling he'll be shopping on Tuesdays now.

The man behind me told me he was sorry and I muttered between tears, "She lived 6 days."  Not sure why I told him that instead of just moving on, but I felt like I owed it to Rebecca.  I wanted this stranger to know that she lived six days.   The she was here on this earth for six days.

"Well, we'll never know why she didn't make it, but I do know this - she's with the Lord right now and he's taking care of her."

I wiped my eyes, gave him a small smile, and said, "Yes.  And that gives me comfort."

And with that, I slowly rolled my cart down the next aisle and finished my shopping.


But thank God! He gives us victory over sin and death through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 1 Corinthians 15:57


17 comments:

Diane Teague said...

I can only imagine how hard this must be. I want you to know that I am still praying for you all. One day soon there will be a great reunion.

Ana said...

So beautiful, Beth. You are a rock.

Jenny said...

I'm so glad that second guy was there to pick up the pieces of such a tough situation, and that he was inspired to speak the truth about Rebecca.

cynthiasolc said...

Yes, if you can, focus on what the man behind you said. I don't believe he was there randomly, he had a little message to deliver.

Your Rebeca is more alive than we can ever know here and you will always be her mom.

One passage that always helps me is:

We do not want you to be unaware, brothers, about those who have fallen asleep, so that you may not grieve like the rest, who have no hope.
1 Thessalonians 4:13

jennwa said...

I am so sorry. I wish there was a way to relieve your pain. You are a strong and amazing woman. I know Rebecca is with you and knows how much she is loved.

Madeline said...

While I don't know why this had to happen I am so proud of your testimony of her life, those 6 days. I am glad the second gentleman was there and he knows of Rebecca now.

Kelli said...

Oh Beth I am so sorry..you are so graceful in the way you handled the situation. Yes Rebecca was here on this earth for 6 days and was loved and cared for. What an amazing woman you are.

Mari said...

Oh Beth, I'm so sorry. The first man probably had good intentions, but it had to be so hard to have it thrown at you without warning. The second man spoke the truth.
You are an amazing mom!

Elise said...

Oh my goodness, Beth. That's so tough. What grace you showed in this situation. God bless you...

Billie Jo said...

I love you.
Your grace is admirable.

Michelle said...

Oh I'm so sorry that happened to you! It's like ripping off the scar on your heart:( I remember shortly after Therese died I was on a field trip with mike's preschool class and I guess some of the moms didn't realize she had died. Two of them were sitting together and asked how the baby was. They felt awful when I told them and I tried to hold it all together and not lose it in front of all the 4 year olds!

Kay said...

I am so sorry! I know the guy meant well, but people just really shouldn't speak unless they know who the person is. Thankful for the man behind you. I know this was all so awful and really sprang up out of the blue...the way of grief. I know what you mean about feeling as though you need to make her time here known. I used to tell everybody. Time and healing have brought me to a point that I don't *always* tell 'the story' when the opportunity presents itself. But it's taken much time to get there. I know this is just awful and a 'thanks a lot for messing up Walmart for me' kinda day. Most of the time people mean well, even the ones that can break our hearts. Wish I could give you a hug. I've been in those shoes a thousand times...

Busy Bee Suz said...

This brings tears to my eyes. Well meaning people never know what is really going on. I'm so glad you were able to share a bit of Rebecca's story though. XoXo

Lena said...

There was the whole circle of life (joy at a birth, and sorrow at a death) right there in Walmart.

Today Rebecca entered the heart of those two men.

I'm sorry you were blindsided with pain today.

Older man ministered to you today. He walked with you on your journey through grief.

May you always have a comforting companion during your sad times.

Victor S E Moubarak said...

Praying for you and your family.

God bless.

Margaret in Minnesota said...

Oh hon, this story touches my heart! We can't know the "why's" of interactions like this, but our Father in heaven does!

It reminds me of the time I turned to a complete stranger in a waiting room and, tears streaming down my face, told her, "I just lost my fourth child." That poor woman! And yet, she responded with great kindness like the man in your story.

Love to you! ♥

Margaret in Minnesota said...

PS. I loved the scarf you wore to Mass last Sunday!!