Faces of Grief | A Morgan Moment | Heidi Morgan Photography

The suitcase and gear bag rollers ran noisily along the airport floor as I worked past my frustration at the overcharging done by a popular [four-lettered] rental car company. I’ll deal with it later, I told myself softly, anxious to get home to my hubby and kiddos. I happened upon the elevator, and that’s when I encountered a rental car executive trying to talk to a silver-haired gentleman with a Southern twang. She offered him help, he declined emphatically. She reached out for his paperwork, he snatched it back in retreat.

How I became involved in this story is unclear. The executive turned to me and asked if I would escort this belligerent man to the other side of the airport! Being as agreeable as I am, I nodded yes. At which point he refused. I quickly rethought and said that he might have to help me get to the other side of the airport with all of this baggage. Cha ching! Bingo. Being a Southern gentleman, he quickly reached out for a suitcase and off we went.

I quickly wondered what I had gotten myself into, what I was dealing with. Dementia? Substance abuse? Uncontrolled anger? The answer came moments later when the gentleman stated that he hadn’t wanted to go on this +#$% trip anyway; it was too soon after losing his love of 51 years. No, not dementia, Heidi — GRIEF.

I listened intently. He dismissed me as young. Little did he know. I reached out, touched his shoulder and said, “I know that life.” And it was true. I went on to affirm that everyone judges you, how you cope, react, whether you move “on” too soon or too slowly. Regardless of intent, everyone puts a hand into your life’s pot. Sometimes that works great, other times not. He suddenly turned steel blue eyes on me and said “Yes, ma’am; that’s exactly it.”

Our journey lasted five minutes. He introduced himself at the end only as “Robbie.” Robbie from Atlanta, it was a pleasure to have been put together at the same frustrating moment, in front of the same elevator, at the same airport. I did not mean to offer you advice as you departed, just words from a person who is nearly five years ahead of you. Walk on, one step at a time, one foot in front of the other. Next thing you know, you will skip or whistle a spell here or there. You will no longer watch passersby, wondering how they can carry on when you cannot. You will share your life gifts with others — at un unpredictable time, place, and in ways that you never imagined yourself capable. At the end of the day, I believe that your way is the best way to grieve. Walk on, Robbie from Atlanta; walk on.

 

Heidi Morgan - May 24, 2011 - 12:45 pm

Thank you, Cheryl and Susan, for taking the time to reply. What a wonderful way to start the day, reading such tender messages!

Cheryl - May 24, 2011 - 5:53 am

Heidi — you have said it all so eloquently. Has it been five years? So long ago — such a short time ago — timeless. Seems like yesterday in many ways. You have such grace and wisdom, for one so young. Thank you for your walk with Robbie. We never know when our life’s experiences will show up to help other’s on their journey. Thank you for your compassion and your willingness. I love you, BraveHeart Woman.

Susan Jennings - May 19, 2011 - 3:24 pm

We have all been there, I am so glad God put you in Robbie’s path. I hope he listened and is healing in his own time and way.

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