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Monday, February 21, 2011


This morning at Aldi, I was trying to get to the milk.  I was waiting patiently for an older gentleman to grab his.  I needed a gallon of 2% and a gallon of whole and he was parked in front of both doors.

He seemed confused, as if he wasn't sure which to get.

Poor thing, I thought.

He finally grabbed a gallon of whole milk and moved forward a little bit so that I could make my selection.  I could tell he was watching me.

After I grabbed the 2%, he put his whole milk back and said, "I think I'll get what you're getting."

I looked at him and smiled a weak smile trying to figure out if I was dealing with dementia or perversion. Turns out it was neither.

"My wife recently passed away.  She did all the shopping and I have no idea what to buy," he said with a shaky voice.

His eyes were filling up with tears and I didn't know what to say.  I gave him a sympathetic smile and told him that either one would be good.

"Well, at least I know I won't go hungry," he said as he glanced around at all the food in the store.

"That's right!" was my weak response.  Why don't I ever know what to say.  Ever.  I'm always floundering for the right words. "Well," I said with a pause, "good luck."

"Thank you," he said with a smile.

As we went our separate directions, I prayed a silent prayer for that sweet man and hoped that I had done enough. 

I noticed him talking to someone else in the store.  I bet he was lonely.  Should I have talked to him longer?

When I got to the bananas, I wished that I had offered to walk through the store with him.  Everything in Aldi's produce department is good except their bananas.  

But I didn't talk to him longer that I did because I always feel self-conscious and never know what to say.  And I didn't walk through the store with him because I'm selfish, I had things that I needed to accomplish.

I'm sure the smile, the quick words and the prayer were all nice enough. 

But were they enough?


RR Mama said...

I feel your pain. I never even think about things like that when the elder are in the store and trying to talk. I'm polite and all but it always seems I am in a rush and I just want to get out of there. I hope you see him again and next I know you will be more confident. And I will say a prayer for him too.

Heather said...

I'm right there with you on the "not knowing the right thing to say". But a prayer for him might be just what he needs;o)

Kimberly said...

I am literally sitting here with tears streaming down my face. My heart is breaking for this man. Bless his heart, his wife probably doted on him their entire marriage. How precious their marriage must have been. I'm not sure that I would have had the right words to say either.

Christi said...

I think that the fact that you patiently waited on him to make his choice and took the time to reply was nice. I also think that this will likely be one of those moments that you will remember, and sometimes people pass through our lives to teach us a lesson or make us think. It's not always for us to help them! :-) Your prayer and kind words were perfect!

Mari said...

That is so sad! I think the way you helped him was sweet!

Aimee said...

oh man . . . that just heartbreaking. I never know what to say either, but I know that prayer you offered was just right. God bless him.

Annikke said...

I never know what to say either... as I've mentioned before my husband is a funeral director and I commend him for that because I always get tongue-tied as soon as someone mentions death.
You did enough. Every little bit is good. He talked to more than one and you did what you are capable of. Each of us has our talents and gifts. You have a sweet smile and a kind word and that was what he needed at that moment. Don't be too hard on yourself.

Anonymous said...

you prayed for him. and i'm sure you have continued to pray... and now that you've shared it, we can pray, too. that is a whole lot, my friend.