Last week I was taken aback a bit by a phone call I received. It was a woman who had recently experienced a great loss. Her child had passed away months ago, and she had decided to reach out to me because she’d only just read the story I had written about her child back then.
She had called to thank me.
I must admit to being at a loss for words for a moment. I mean, what in the world do you say to that? Granted, “You’re welcome” or “It was my pleasure” would be obvious. But this isn’t exactly a normal situation. I was talking to a woman who felt a grief I wouldn’t wish on my own enemy. And having just had Maxwell enter my life, I can only guess what she was feeling, even months later.
I humbly thanked her for taking the time to call and that I very much appreciated her kindness. I asked how she was doing, knowing that no matter what answer she gave, she couldn’t be doing great. However, she was honest and said there were good moments and bad. That crying happened almost randomly. She even cried a bit on the phone. I’m glad she didn’t cry too long or I’d have been right there with her. I’m a soft touch…
We ended up talking for nearly an hour about a bunch of random things. She had discovered Pokemon Go and said her child would have loved it. She said the game forces her to get out of the house and go outside. We talked about a mutual friend of ours and how he was such a blessing to her through his gift of music. We also talked about how she liked to write and tell people’s stories.
At one point she nervously asked if I had time to meet her, grab a coffee, and talk some more. She said she likes to meet people and wanted to put a face to the name and voice. I look forward to doing so very soon.
It’s funny. Most of the time when I write an article I don’t consider its emotional impact on its subjects. Oh sure, if I’m about to slam someone, which I tend to avoid doing, I would expect a negative response. But it catches me off guard when someone tells me they were touched by something I wrote. That’s a very powerful thing to do to someone, to touch them with your words. I’m beyond humbled and even slightly embarrassed that my new friend would even think to call me up and thank me for an article when she was still grieving.
It was important for me to tell her that while writing the article, I heard the same thing over and over again. Everyone who I interviewed told me her child was a positive and happy soul who never had a bad day. That her child was always smiling and upbeat. I wanted her to know that her child had made a difference to the folks I had spoken with. If knowing that gave her any sort of satisfaction, I am pleased.