Posts Tagged ‘grateful’

Yesterday I was picking up my daughter’s winter coat at the dry cleaners.

I had been in earlier, around two o’clock, since it was supposed to be ready in the afternoon. They said it wasn’t finished yet but I could pick it up at 4:00pm. I had much to do but I tamped down my impatience and said that I would be back.

When I returned a Portuguese woman, of a certain age, was standing in front of the cash register. I know she’s Portuguese because I grew up in this town.

There are clues. Even before I hear an accent.

First of all. She looked Portuguese.

Not a lot of jewelry but the prerequisite gold wedding ring and earrings.

The color of the gold is usually clue number two.

A simple hairstyle. Short and not fussy.

I could go on but you get the picture. I know my home town folks.

I asked, “Do they know you’re here?”

She replied, “Yes.”

A young gal appears from the back room and tells the woman, “I can’t find the others. I have only the one piece. When did you drop the others off?”

I’m thinking, “Oh, great. I thought I’d be in and out. Now we will be here forever while she searches for the lost clothing articles.”

My jet lagged daughter and I are just back from the Doctor’s office, armed with antibiotics to hopefully clear up our sinus problems. We’re not exactly on the top of our game. I left my daughter waiting in the car with the engine running.

The woman says, “I think they were dropped off about three weeks ago. One is black and one is beige.”

She continued and said, “I couldn’t pick them up because I was at the hospital with two blocked veins to my heart.”

The gal, in her quest to find the missing clothes, did not hear this but I did.

Of course, I had to say something.

My growing impatience immediately flew out the window.

“Are you doing okay now?”

She said, “So far so good.”

Then she says, “But my husband is sick.”

I said, “Oh, no.”

She shared, “He has cancer. They gave him three weeks. Colon cancer.”

“It’s no holiday. The stress is no good for my heart.”

Talked with her a bit longer. When she was leaving I wasn’t quite sure what to say.

Merry Christmas? Happy holidays? Good luck? Hang in there?

I just said, “Do the best you can.”

There are a lot of folks who are doing the best they can during the holidays. It’s difficult. Problems, illnesses, and feelings of sadness don’t miraculously up and disappear on December 25th. Or on the days leading up to Christmas morning.

All is not merry and bright for many people.

This brief encounter was a reminder of that. Made me sad, grateful, patient and aware.

Hoping you all are doing the very best you can. This Christmas and always.





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On Monday, Rory left us in Malaysia to head back to California to finish up her last year of college. We had a few good weeks with her here so we were and are thankful.

Early that morning, even before I posted my Facebook status that she was leaving, I received a message. Out of the blue. Very unexpected. From the daughter of a friend of mine in Texas. She had never emailed me before that day.

It was very complimentary. I really didn’t even feel that I was deserving of her words.

But it truly lifted me up. And I needed it on that particular day.

I remember reading an article about five years ago. Basically, it said it was important to let others know how you feel. How grateful you were if someone helped you. Taught you. Guided you. It suggested writing a letter to a family member, an old friend, mentor or teacher. Terrific idea!

In 1997, I attended a parish/school reunion with my entire family. My second grade teacher, Sr. Mercia, was there. We caught up and laughed. She was very good-humored. A hot ticket as they used to say.  When I was leaving I heard her say to the other women in the group, “I always liked that kid.”

I was over thirty years old at the time. But it still made me feel great.

So, years later, after being prompted by that article, I wrote to thank this particular person. Not for liking me or for pulling out my wiggling baby teeth. But to let her know that I was appreciative of her commitment. To let her know that she had an important role in my life. I admired her choice to dedicate her entire life to teaching. Without a partner. Without her own children. Devoted to God and second graders while eschewing many of the material goods that most of us couldn’t imagine living without.  I wanted her to know that she was and had been appreciated, valued and loved.

I knew her address. From time to time, my mom would keep me updated on Sister Mercia. When she was battling breast cancer and beating it. Where she was currently living.

But by the time that letter was signed, sealed and delivered to her door it was just a little too late. Sister Mercia was older and had Alzheimer’s. She wouldn’t have understood my words of gratitude and love.

I was glad that I wrote the letter but very sad that she would not be able to read the words. The woman who taught me to read. She would never know how I felt. I waited too long.

So, if there is someone who helped, nurtured, guided or loved you then go ahead and drop them a few lines. Out of the blue. You will absolutely make their day.

I guarantee it.

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