Something special happened tonight.
I got home from babysitting just a few minutes ago. It’s been another long day and I am eager to curl up in bed with a book. As I passed my office on the way to my bedroom, I decided to check my email. I had no plans to blog tonight. I am exhausted and my inspiration has gone missing the last few days, so I figured one more day couldn’t hurt. When I checked my email, I knew I would stay at my computer until I wrote a blog entry.
Tonight, the special something is the contents of an email that connected me with a perfect stranger. A stranger who is much like me — a mother and a grandmother. This stranger recently suffered an unexpected and tragic loss.
The email was a notification of this woman’s comment to one of my previous blog entries. As I read it, unnamed emotion flowed through me. I connected with this mother and grandmother in a beautiful way. The total quiet of being home alone made it the perfect time to read the following note:
Thank you for sharing this. The music and clip were perfect, as Josh is a veteran of two deployments to Iraq. Jennifer was the military wife and mom who holds the world on her shoulders. Josh is my son, I’m the grandma. We are held by the love of family and friends. The only thing stronger than loss is love.
After I read Tina Simson’s comment, I re-read it and then I read it one more time. Back on February 27th, I wrote an entry about the tragic death of a young wife and mother, Jennifer Simson. Her tragic death hit a nerve. As a mother and a grandmother, I related to the family. Except for my “About” page, that entry has been viewed more than any of the other 46 posts I have written thus far. I wondered who might be reading it. I wondered whether someone in Jennifer’s family might want to read it.
At the time Jennifer’s obituary ran in the local paper, I decided to write in the online guest book. I don’t know why I wanted to do it, but I did. My entry was one of a couple hundred. I offered my sincere condolences to the family. A week or so later, I got a notice by email about the guest book. I clicked on the link and went back to view the guest book.
The outpouring of sympathy and kind words moved me. I thought about my blog about Jennifer, written a couple of weeks before. I wondered again about the blog. So, I wrote another note of condolence and included the link to my blog dedicated to Jennifer. At first I hesitated, thinking it might be presumptuous or in bad taste. Then I thought how I might feel if someone wrote something about someone close to me. In the end, it felt like the right thing to do.
Tonight, when I received the note from Tina, Josh’s mom, I felt an instant connection. As a mother of a son, who is about the same age, I cannot imagine how she is coping with her son’s heartbreak. She said she is the grandma. An image of her holding her grandchildren tightly went through my mind the second I read it.
In just a couple of sentences, Tina Simson wrote a beautiful, poignant sentiment. A sentiment that may have caused fresh pain as she wrote it. A sentiment that comforted me. It’s hard to describe the feeling I have at this moment. That’s why I have to write this entry tonight. I need to capture my emotions now, not after a day or two passes.
I am having difficulty expressing my last thoughts about this. Maybe it’s something like this: the last few days we’ve seen a terrible tragedy with the earthquakes and tsunami in Japan. The images on the news are heartbreaking. I drive back and forth to work and wonder why God’s grace spares me and the people I love from these tragedies. A feeling of helplessness comes over me. How can I make a difference to someone, anyone, who is suffering?
Tonight I made a difference to a stranger in need. Tina Simson seemed comforted by the kindness of my words. But, I wonder if Tina Simson realizes how her kind words comforted me and that her note made a difference to a stranger.