Life Comes With Its Peaks & Valleys

by AJ Mihrzad on

I was at Starbucks getting my fix of caffeine when I saw an older gentleman sitting by himself. The odd thing was that he didn’t have a coffee or even a newspaper to read, he was literally just sitting there staring off into space. His eyes were completely blank and his shoulders were drooped. I usually keep to myself, but something within me told me I had to go speak to him.
As I walked by, he didn’t even flinch or acknowledge my presence.
Not knowing what to say, I awkwardly asked him,
excuse me, sir,
do you happen to know what time it is?
He didn’t respond to me at all.
For a moment I thought something was severely wrong, was he deaf?
I asked a second time.
Finally, he slowly looked up at me,
and his eyes were full of tears and bloodshot red.
I was stunned by his sad glare, it was welled up with emotion.
I then had to ask him,
is everything okay?
His chin started trembling and the tears poured down his wrinkled face.
He told me that his wife recently died
and that he couldn’t be alone in his apartment.
My heart felt for him.
I just absorbed so much of his sadness at that moment.
I decided to sit with him.
I can’t imagine the experience of losing the love of your life.
I started doing what felt right at the moment
and asked him questions to console him.
He cried even more and started bringing up memories about his wife.
Talking about the logistics of life after someone you love passes away,
how much he misses her,
his fears,
his insecurities,
and the depths of loneliness in his heart.
After that, I didn’t say much.
I just listened and let him Vent.
I let him pour his heart out because it felt appropriate at the moment.
After about 45 minutes or so,
I was compelled to just give him a big strong hug.
He embraced me back and I realized how much needed one.
Although he was easily 40 years older than me,
I told him everything is going to be okay.
I tried my best to lend him some optimism.
I just felt like I had to be the voice of reason
and the confident assuring person he needed at that moment.
I wrote down my number on my receipt and told him to call me if he needed someone to talk to.
I then let him be.
As I walked away, I felt a mix of emotions.
One part of me was sad, but the other part of me felt blessed.
I felt grateful to just be there and listen.
To let a random person express all of what they have been holding inside.
I guess we all need that from time to time when our hearts get full of sadness.
Sometimes we just need someone to express our feelings to
without judgement.
I don’t know if I’ll ever see that man ever again.
I hope I made his day a little bit better by being present,
letting him vent, and giving him some reassurance.
We all need that one person who is strong when we are weak.
Being on this journey we call life comes with its peaks and valleys.
At any given moment,
we could be on the top of the mountain
or deep down in a hole.
It warms my heart to know that there’s always someone there
to extend their hand and pull us out of the depths of sorrow.
I am grateful that fate allowed me to be that person for the man
I met today.

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