It is almost two years ago that my dad passed away.
I still struggle writing and seeing those words. Sometimes I find myself laughing thinking about stuff that he did, or crying because he is not seeing things happen in my life right now. Although we tended to argue about certain aspects of my life, I know and always knew he was trying to look out for me. Every person needs someone in their life that whether you like what they say or not, you know that they are there for you. That was my dad.
As I received the news of my dad passing through a google chat message from my brother because I had shut off my phone prior to a presentation, I can still that little pop up window that rocked my world. I saw it, closed my computer, and immediately informed the group that I would have to leave.
As I arranged plans to fly home to be with my family, I remember sitting in the Denver airport in a little restaurant off to the side, where I wrote about my dad passing away and what he meant to me. Writing was seemingly the only way that I could hold things together. Today, as I flew to Detroit from the Denver airport, I passed that restaurant again and I was reminded of a special moment. As I wrote about my dad, with tears in my eyes, the server had brought me food that I ordered that I had not planned on eating. I was the only one in the restaurant at the airport at the time, and although the restaurant was not busy, she kept asking me if I needed anything, with service more attentive than I had been used to. All of a sudden, the server came up to me, and she said, “I am really sorry, but I saw what you are writing over your shoulder, and I am incredibly sorry for your loss. Would you mind if I gave you a hug?” Needing that more than anything, I stood up, and cried uncontrollably as a stranger cried along with me. I remember that she had hugged me until I let go, and I was incredibly grateful.
Walking by that little spot in the Denver airport always makes me pause, but today, almost two years later, it really hit me. It also reminded me that although it can be really easy to get caught up in all the bad in the world, total strangers sometimes do the kindest things, and people sometimes show up unexpectedly when you need them the most. I was also reminded of hearing someone say that when a kid in school comes up to hug you, never let go first. They will hold on until they get what they need.
That is what that kind stranger did for me that day, and I am forever grateful.