I stood in line a bit sheepishly, taking up all of the postal worker’s time. Before me were over 40 envelopes stuffed with my memoir, ready to be shipped out to my supporters all over the US and Canada.
A woman came in and I looked at her apologetically because I knew it would be at least another 15 minutes until all my packages were rung up. “It’s Ok,” she said, “I don’t mind waiting.”
We joked about why she might be wanting to kill time in the post office until she said, “I’m meeting a girlfriend later on. Her husband is on dialysis”. I told her what a good friend she was for doing so. “She would do the same for me. She has in fact, when I lost my husband.”
The teller and I exchanged knowing looks at one another, as earlier, I had told her about the book that I was shipping to so many people. The book about the loss of my own husband. “I lost my husband too,” I told the woman in line and we both kind of stood in disbelief. She shared about how it was nearly 3 years since her loss, but that she was getting married to a man in July. I later found out he too was a widower.
I grabbed one of the last packages that hadn’t yet been stamped and took out the book from the envelope and handed it to her. “Here, this is my book about my love and loss story,” I shared with her as she read the title and I told her about just returning from Camp Widow on Sunday.
“I have cancer too,” she said as she read the title Ebb from the Shoreline – Finding Cancer and Courage and we all kind of laughed at the absurdity of our commonalities. I wrapped my arm around this stranger’s shoulder.
“I just want to hug you,” I told her, and meant it genuinely. What a connection. She shared about how she had found out about her diagnosis and that she needed to get more surgery soon. She asked if she could pay for the book. “No, please, it’s yours,” I told her. “I believe in signs and connections and this is definitely one of them.”
A few minutes later I mentioned that I lived just down the street. She said “You do?” and shared the street she lived on. I stared in disbelief.
“I live on that street too!” I exclaimed. Jaws dropped. She lives about 8 houses away from me, a house I walk past frequently as I walk my big, floppy eared dog. The teller gave me a post-it so I could give her my number. She was just as astounded as we were. Then the teller shared, “The weird thing is, I’m only working here today because our post master is also out on cancer leave.”
What a world. This woman had come in to the post office to buy stamps for her wedding invitations.
I walked out of there amazed. You never know someone else’s story. I have always been a chatty person. My nickname was ‘Gabble Gut’ as a child, but I have no regrets for being that ‘Gabble Gut’ girl. Without being so, I never would have met this woman who lives half a mile from my home, also lost her husband and is battling cancer. I never would have made this amazing connection.
Never fail to talk to someone new, it may open up an incredible conversation