Thursday, April 18, 2013

Why was she crying?

12 years ago I pulled into the parking lot of a strip mall. As I pulled into the lot, I saw a woman pulling out of the same lot and could clearly see she was crying hysterically. I know it sounds like a weird thing to remember, but that woman has haunted me since I saw her that day. I've pictured what she was crying about as I've entered into different stages of my life.

When I was in the dating world, I wondered if her boyfriend broke up with her in a ugly way.

When I got laid off of my job, I wondered if she was devastated not knowing how she'd pay her bills.

When I got married, I wondered if she just had a big fight with her husband.

When my mom got sick, I wondered if she found out she was going to lose a cherished loved one to a terminal illness.

And of course now I wonder if she had just been handed an infertility diagnosis or maybe had lost her baby to miscarriage.

Obviously I'll never know for sure, but it's fascinated me that she's stayed so embedded in my thoughts this long after the fact.

It has made me realize that no matter where we are in life, someone we walk past might be about to get into their car and cry. Or maybe they just got done crying and had wiped away the tears to face the world again. When we see the woman in line who dropped the mayonnaise jar and tears well up in her eyes, it may be deeper than the mayonnaise. When we walk past someone at the mall and accidentally bump into them and they respond with dirty look, they might not be a rotten miserable person after all. There may be pain that is not as obvious as a billboard sign on their face.

The moral for me is that it is important to be kind to strangers because you never know what battles they are facing. There are times I wish the world had been kinder to me even though no one knew the pain behind my smile. And kindness from strangers felt amplified when I was especially sorrowful. I hope and pray I've offered a moment of kindness to a silently suffering stranger. But one thing I know for sure, I've definitely been that woman crying alone in the car. And I wonder if there was ever a time a stranger saw me and has wondered why.

Have you ever been that woman?

22 comments:

  1. I have been doing my best to make an effort to be kinder, more patient and less judgmental. We never know what someone is going through. I have been that woman in the car many times. Too many. I always wonder what others think I am crying for...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad to hear I'm not alone. Infertility and pain changes all of us, and while it's so difficult I am glad it helps many of us try to be more kind and less judgmental!

      Delete
  2. It's odd, the things we remember...

    I've been that woman. Generally I'm wearing sunglasses, so in my mind people don't notice, but I could very well be the woman somebody else remembers crying in her car.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I remember bawling at work, after getting the phone call that my last IVF didn't work. Then I had to attend a meeting. I'm sure everyone was looking at me and wondering what the heck was going on!!

    I too try to be nicer when I see people going through a tough time. I use to wish people were more sensitive to me because infertility can be such a hidden pain. I've also learned that many if not most people also have their own pains and journeys they go through that we don't see, just like us going through infertility. Things like miscarriage, cancer, losing a spouse, abuse, being blessed with kids but the kids have disabilities, financial troubles etc. I remember praying with people at church and thinking, boy, I thought my life sucks, but the things some people got through in life is almost unbearable.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh that's awful. :( It's just crazy how much we must endure and then have to get thrust right back into regular life minutes afterwords. And some of the hardest moments are the ones that you know that even if you did explain, no one would understand.

      Delete
  4. When we arrived at our clinic for my tranfer we passed a woman leaving in tears ... my heart broke for her and I've thought about it every day since.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh this just rips my heart out. :( We all know how it feels to be that woman.

      Delete
  5. One summer in 2008, I was that woman and someone saw me in the restaurant we were parked in front of and brought me a box of Kleenex and a water! I was crying to my husband hysterically because we still didn't have kids and had been waiting on our adoption in China for 2 years already. I was about to turn 40 and was at my parents house visiting and felt that they would not get much of a chance to see my kids grow up. It was a rough weekend, but it also was the impetus that changed our adoption trajectory to domestic and we had Sadie 4 months later! I was so grateful for the kindness from strangers that day though. : ) I brought Sadie back there after she was born and took a picture with her there. It was part of our journey that brought us to her. So grateful now!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm touched to hear of the kindness of the stranger to gave you kleenex. I love that. I am sorry you were going through such a hard time, but I'm glad you have Sadie now. :)

      Delete
  6. I've been that woman so many times over the past year. I'm sorry you have been, too. Thank you, also, for the reminder that we don't always know what's going on with others and to be kind.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm sorry you've been that woman. My heart goes out to you. Hugs

      Delete
  7. That woman could have been me, or many of us I'm sure. I tell my softball girls this all the time - you just never know what someone may be going through that makes them the person they are. That girl that you think is annoying? Maybe she's had something tragic happen in her life and just needs a kind word and to be loved. I also remind them to appreciate everything and everyone that is important to them because you just never know what tomorrow will bring.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What a wonderful lesson to teach to your softball girls. I'm glad you've got such a good heart. :)

      Delete
  8. You never know what other people go through, really. This is a great reminder to stop and think of that, before making assumptions or get angry if someone is having a bad day.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Your post is so beautifully written. Yes, I have been the woman crying in the car and sometimes, I am the woman screaming while driving on the highway. LOL. I roll up the windows and when no cars are passing by, I just scream. It helps. I always feel better. The anger needs to come out. Otherwise, I will overeat for comfort or shut down.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment. We always have to let it out one way or another or else youre right, it will catch up with us!

      Delete
  10. Here from ICLW.... This is such a beautiful post. I've definitely been that woman ugly crying in her car, wandering teary-eyed and lost in the grocery store, snapping at strangers for no apparent reason. I've always tried to give other people the benefit of the doubt. If someone cuts me off on the freeway, I think maybe they're distracted by something bad that happened at home, and I try to send some good vibes out them. It's much easier and more pleasant than getting angry at them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the comment and for stopping by. IF has definitely changed me to give people the benefit of the doubt much more than I used to. We've all been 'that woman' and kindness is so important!

      Delete
  11. This is a beautiful post. I've been reading your blog all morning. I recently got a diagnosis that has turned my world upside-down. Reading your blog made me feel so grateful, because you have a positive outlook. Your husband is very lucky to have you. You bake amazing chocolate cakes, do deep cleaning to make the house immaculate, and have such a positive spirit. When I read that you were willing to give up your dream of motherhood if it would make Libby's daughter well again, it brought tears to my eyes.

    I had been striving to take my diagnosis in a positive light, but I had moments of feeling regretful of my past choices, and embarrassed if people were to find out, and annoyed at friends who were well-intentioned but said things that ended up being hurtful (e.g. "after having my own biological kid, I realize even more how important it is to have the genetic connection! Now I know for sure that I would've regretted it for the rest of my life if I wasn't able to do it!"). I have been generally positive but there have definitely been dark times in this past month. Reading your blog has made me feel so grateful, and determined to be more selfless, and to be appreciative with whatever life brings. You are a wonderful person.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What an incredibly kind thing to say. Your comment just warmed my heart, in fact I even read it aloud to Kevin. I am touched to hear that I have helped you in any way.

      Let me assure you that I have had (and continue to have) very dark days/moments as we all will...but it does get easier with time. I am very sorry for the suffering you are experiencing. I give you virtual hugs through this computer screen.

      Delete