I have been working on cleaning out the garage the past few days. My son asked me, "How did it get so bad like this? Did you open the garage and just toss things in?" I simply replied, "Yes" and left it at that. That was the honest answer - it is what I did. But anyway, on Sunday night, a woman from the neighborhood approached me and asked if she could take some of the plastic storage totes I'd put out at the curb for recycling. She said she would use them to start organizing and cleaning her garage, which she admitted was a mess. I told her to take whatever she wanted and we started to talk.
She has lived down the street for three years and is 52. After I gave her a shortened version of my story (husband died six years ago, remarried but new husband dumped us) she shared hers. She related that at age 30 she was engaged to a man studying to be a minister. They had just bought a home together and she was eagerly looking forward to starting a family after marriage. But she was diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Her fiance ended the relationship saying he could not handle the unknown of whether the cancer would come back again. She ended up having to sell the house. And to battle her illness. And to keep living. And to move on.
Nine years later she ended up marrying a man with a six-year-old daughter. She said that she did feel as though she had a role in being a parent. The stepdaughter is now 20, married, living in Texas and going to college. She and her husband moved to our neighborhood when the stepdaughter graduated from high school. The woman told me that I am a very nice person and she wished we had met sooner. She wistfully told me that despite all that has happened, I still have my family (the boys). She also said that everyone has problems. I replied that in our community it seems as though some of us have more burdens than others.
It was a nice conversation and it made me aware that others do have trials and tribulations to face, just as I.
Today I am grateful:
1. For the start of the fall season.
2. For the smell of fallen leaves after they have been "toasted" by the sun.
3. For the red that is coming out in some of the bushes.
4. For the lovely moon I saw last night.
5. For shared stories and new perspectives.