Four years, two months and eight days, and I can still burst into tears in a shop.
A woman’s shopping basket was sitting on a shelf between me and the shiitake mushrooms I was trying to reach. I asked her if I could move it. She turned, narrowed her eyes, and looked at me with a strange look on her face. I thought she was annoyed, but then recognition dawned on both of us at the same time.
For a few awkward moments I remembered the last time I’d spoken to this former real estate colleague. The short telephone conversation had not been a very happy one.
And now I was bumping into her, for the first time in… what? six years? at Apple Farm, and I was moving her shopping basket out-of-the-way!
“How are you?” she asked after a moment.
“I am well.”
“I am very sorry about what happened,” she continued.
“Oh…” I managed to say before my throat tightened and tears took over from where my words left out.
Suddenly she hugged me and I hugged her back, or maybe we hugged each other at the same time.
“I came to the Mass,” she said.
“Oh yes. I felt that as I knew the family it was appropriate for me to be there.”
“Thank you, I appreciate that.”
“I am sorry if I made it worse by mentioning it, I am sorry if I made you cry.”
“There is absolutely nothing that can make it worse. Crying may be uncomfortable for others, but not for me.”
And it is true, there are times when crying is a relief, even after over four years. The difference is that after saying goodbye, teary eyed though I was, I got on with the rest of the shopping for the minestrone I was making that night. These days sorrow and daily life don’t necessarily interfere with each other.