The Smile

I had the pleasure of helping a very interesting Man choose a pair of shoes today, and very special shoes they were. He was on his way to meet a Woman for what was to be their third date. As our conversation went on, he seemed to be quite comfortable talking with me, so he gave me his story. He said that he was 58, had recently lost nearly 100 pounds and was feeling healthy and better than he had in a long time. He said that he had not dated for over 30 years. He then told me that he lost his Wife of 25 years three years ago to cancer. With tears in his eyes
he told me that she was the love of his life, and with tears in mine I told him I was so sorry. Then he smiled and told me a little about her, his Wife, and how happy they had been. So after a few minutes I asked him about his date. Although he was still smiling, his smile became different, and he said that she was very sweet and funny, and that he loved her laugh,and that he was excited and nervous at the same time. I gave him a hug, thanked him and he hugged me back. He most likely thought that I was thanking him for buying the shoes, but I was thanking him for letting me see the smile that he had when speaking with so much love of his Wife.

The Answer

She nearly died trying to understand, searching for an answer. The grief became more than she could bear, the pain became heavier. She spent only one night there, where she totally broke down, checked herself in and tried to forget, like she did every minute of everyday, of what was happening. From the day he left, all he would tell her was how much he loved her, how she was too good of a person for all of this, that he could no longer stay because he did not want to keep on hurting her. I love you more that anything in the world, I have to go. He said it with tears in his eyes. She made no sense of these words, even after he repeated them to her several times over several long months . She begged him to come home, on the phone, in letters and in her dreams. Everyone told her she was making herself suffer by looking for an answer that was not going to come. But she knew something was wrong, he was becoming someone else, she could not to give up, didn’t listen to anyone, and kept on her painful search. Then her answer came. For hours after, she sat and thought about the words that he spoke to her too many times, I love you so much, You are such a good person and you don’t deserve this, I can’t stay because I don’t want to hurt you anymore, I love you more than anything in the world, and you know that, that’s why I have to go. These words, without any meaning to her, that never stopped screaming in her head and beating on her body, had changed. He was trying to tell her, attempting to save her, setting her free from him. The sorrow and pity that came to her for him also brought something else, the realization that he was gone forever from her, gone forever from himself. Grief would not come to her, she had sat in her suffering long enough, she would now be given the strength to heal. And from that day on, she would wrap that strength tightly around her damaged self, and just move on.