To the Woman Who Saw Me Crying in Church and Said Something

Recently, I was sitting in church, and the pastor was talking about the impact of losing a loved one.

Instantly, the tears began to fall. I was taken back to the previous spring of 2014 when my infant son, Dylan, unexpectedly passed away. The pain of that day cannot be measured or expressed adequately. His death left an enormous hole behind in my family’s life.

What started out as silent, small tears turned into gut-wrenching sobs. I tried to control them since I was in a public place, but the pain was too overwhelming, and even though I muffled them as best I could, I was embarrassed.

When I went to pick up my two older daughters from Sunday school afterwards, a woman standing behind me gently tapped me on the shoulder and asked, “Are you all right?” I turned around and was shocked to recognize her; she’d been sitting in the row in front of me. Had she heard me crying? Did she think I was crazy? I was mortified and wished I could melt away right on the spot.

Before I could say anything, she confirmed my suspicions by saying, “I noticed you were crying in service earlier. I just want to make sure you’re OK.” The tears started to pool at the corners of my eyes as I thought about covering up the honest answer with the convenient, “I’m fine.” But something happened in that moment when I looked into that woman’s eyes. I didn’t see admonishment or judgment or even pity but rather concern and kindness. Her gentle probing broke down my walls, and I blurted out, “My son passed away a few months ago, and I am still dealing with his loss.”

The woman reached out and pulled me into an embrace and said, “I am so sorry.” I rested in her comforting arms for several moments, completely amazed by the kindness and compassion this stranger demonstrated in the most unexpected way. In that moment, she was my hero because I’d been overwhelmed by how isolated I felt from my son’s death. Her ability to see a stranger in need was a powerful act of love and kindness.

This incident set in motion the beginning of our friendship. She’s now become a close friend and has been there for me when I needed a shoulder to cry on. None of that would be possible if she had not reached out to me, a stranger in pain.

For all of February, The Mighty is asking its readers the following: Describe the moment a stranger — or someone you don’t know very well — showed you or a loved one incredible love. No gesture is too small! If you’d like to participate, please send a blog post to [email protected] Please  include a photo for the piece, a photo of yourself and 1-2 sentence bio.

This post originally appeared on Jenna Brandt’s Blog.

Want to celebrate the human spirit? Like us on Facebook.

And sign up for what we hope will be your favorite thing to read at night.

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Other

3 Moments That Sum Up How Kids, Teens and Adults View My Son’s Disability

My son, Elias, wheels joy into the angst and insecurity of shopping malls and school hallways. People turn at the sound of metal and rubber stalking them. They’re surprised by a small blond boy with a walker. And their faces change. They brighten. Sometimes their smiles are more nervous than joyous, but even these nervous smiles offer [...]

5 Reminders That Help Get Me Through a Breakdown

Whether you have a mental illness or not, chances are pretty high that you’ve experienced a total breakdown at least once. Stress and anxiety are a part of everyday life. Sometimes, a breakdown seems like the absolute end of the world, a moment consumed by emotions, thoughts, boxes of tissues and maybe some chocolate. Those prone [...]

6 Lessons I’ve Learned Since My Daughter’s Williams Syndrome Diagnosis

Recently, our daughter, Arianna, has undergone major surgery. Due to scoliosis (which is a part of Williams syndrome for many kids), she had 11 vertebrate fused and rods and screws added to her back. The few weeks leading up this surgery were torture; she’s considered “high risk,” and the surgery would be a long one [...]

To the Mom Who Made Me Feel OK About Respite Care

Respite care can be a Godsend but also a double-edged sword. Being the primary caregiver of a child with special needs is taxing. There’s no two ways about it. But I’m her mom, so I know her best. She was given to my husband and me, not to anyone else, and I want to be [...]