Monday, September 5, 2011

the old guy


There is an old man who lives up the road from me. Every day, we pass each other, each on our respective morning walks - me with Boris, the old guy on his own. At first we just walked past. Then there was a nod of recognition, followed months later by "good morning." Lately there has been a "how are you" spoken as we walk by. Today as I was walking up the hill, the old man, coming down the hill, pointed at me and smiled. "You and I, we seem to run into each other a lot, don't we."

"Every day," I said.

"How are you today honey?"

"I'm alright," I lied. Completely lied. I have already spent most of the morning crying, and just now got it together enough to get outside with Bo. "And you? How are you today?"

"Well," the old guy shifted and smiled. "I get out, I'm moving and walking around. That's what counts, that's what is each day, that is what I have."

I feel my eyes well up at this. Thank goodness my sunglasses are quite large. We are somehow still walking in slow opposite directions and yet standing close.

Then he asks, "are you married?"

I choke. "I'm widowed," I manage to say, though I am clearly crying now - I can feel tears rolling down my cheeks, caught by the lower rim of my glasses.

"Oh honey. Oh honey I am sorry to hear that."

"Me too," I said.

"You take each day, you take it by each day. That is all you can do."

It's a blur now, how that ended, how that moment passed. I think we were already passing each other as he asked the question that got him that response. By the time I said thank you and half turned away, I already had tears breaking through the containment of my sunglasses, dripping off their edge.


a photo for HBPG



  1. Oh Megan... Thank you for sharing that moment with us. (((BIG HUGS))) and love.

  2. thank you, Megan, for sharing; sending soft hugs and sunset.

  3. Sometimes someone will come along and give the gift of a moment which they have no idea is so precious. Heartbreaking. Kind. Still not enough.

    Sometimes the huge and ever-mounting pile of days behind taking each day as it comes is the hard part.


  4. Beautiful. He knows what's needed. Thanks for letting us in on this touching moment.

  5. It seems that we are destined to have these type of interactions, and conversations, with those much older than us. By losing our spouses so early in life, we are put into the category of those left behind, which our elders know all to well.

    Last night I was talking to my father, who asked if my brother and his family visited me this weekend as plan. He was pleased that they did, and made a comment about how it shouldn't have taken so long for my brother to visit me in San Diego, as I have already been here a year. My father then went on to share how difficult it is to reflect on past holidays when everyone got together, as it makes him yearn for what used to be. I repsonded that while I would like my brother to visit more often, I understand that my life is less busy than his now that I am widowed.

    At that point I was quick to get off the phone, as I didn't want to break down at that moment.

    Love ya Megan.

  6. i feel this one. those little interactions...that question...the quickening of my heartbeat before i say it..."actually he passed away..." so so hard.