Patience. Compassion. Kindness. Love.
All of this was taking place between a daughter, mother and father while I was in the purse section of a department store recently.
An adult daughter was shopping with her mother and father. From the interaction that was taking place it was clear to me her mother was in early stages of Alzheimer’s. I recognized this from my own past experience with my mother.
As she picked two purses for her mom to look at, she gently and lovingly explained the compartments the purses had that would be of good use. Mom looked on agreeing with everything. When her daughter asked which one she liked best there was no clear answer as she looked directly into her daughter’s eyes.
So her daughter looked right back and joyfully said, “Why not get both! Would you like that?”
Mom smiled and nodded with a definitive yes.
As they continue strolling through the area dad approached them with a ring he liked and asked if his wife would like this for Christmas. She looked right at him and said, “That would be lovely and then we could get married again.”
At this point I was struggling to contain my tears but that was a waste of effort because I lost it and had to step away when he said:
“I’d buy you all the rings in the world if it meant we got to marry each other again and again and again.”
While I was off in a different section drying my tears, the daughter, who was now alone, was there, too. I made the choice to walk over to her and honor her loving presence.
I told her how beautiful it was to witness such love, compassion and patience toward her mother. She seemed a bit surprised but then said, “Thank you. She has Alzheimer’s and my dad and I are choosing to cherish every moment we have left with her.”
I let her know I fully understood because I went through this with my mom. Her eyes widened, then the tears came and she asked if she could give me a hug.
So there we were, two complete strangers in the middle of a department store, connecting from a place that goes so much deeper than any words could ever express no longer leaving us strangers.
We spoke for a few more minutes until her mom and dad were looking for her. With a squeeze of our hands for our good-bye, we went back to our lives but not separated. That entire encounter, that beautiful family, those amazing souls will live in my heart forever.
As you move through this holiday season and into the New Year, may you be witness to and have direct experiences of more Patience. Compassion. Kindness. Love.