I once met an angel. In Saks.

My dad died on Halloween.
13 years ago, but, still.

That first year was especially hard - as you can imagine.
Except it was worse because I was pregnant with Youngest.
I hate being pregnant when someone dies. But somehow it worked out that way.

My mom flew in from Oklahoma, where they had been living, and we all tried to live our lives.
But it was so sudden that it was especially hard.
And the holidays crashed down on us all.

In an attempt to salvage traditions and Christmas and whatever joy we could muster, my mom made arrangements for our usual holiday activities to continue.
One of them was going to see P.D.Q. Bach at Carnegie Hall.
Peter Schickele did a concert in New York city at christmas time each year and she got tickets for us to see him - as did my father when he was alive.
Box seats, in fact.

She kindly decided we should make a day of it -
Lunch at Rockefeller Plaza, watching the skaters, browsing Fifth Avenue and admiring the windows.
We all went through the motions - and it was a nice day.

But I felt so awful.
Pregnant and uncomfortable.
Constantly scanning the faces of my extended family for grieving.
Worrying about my mother.
I couldn't enjoy myself.

At one point in the afternoon, in Saks, I had to pee.
It was so symbolic of the burden of that pregnancy at that time.
I didn't want to be pregnant any more.
The happiness of it had been squeezed out of me.
It had become an afterthought.

My mom went with me to the very crowded ladies room.
I needed a moment to sit down. Catch my breath. Try not to think too much.
Mom was using the facilities while I sat.

A woman approached me.
I don't remember what she looked like - but I do remember that she had on a coat and hat. She looked like any other shopper.
She waded through the other women in the lounge area.
She reached out and touched my arm.
She said: You know it is all going to be okay, don't you?

And, right then, for the first time in weeks, I let myself believe it.


Jennifer said…
Sometimes we all need an angel in our life. It sounds like yours came at just the right time :) Thank you for sharing such a touching story
Badger said…
Aw. Will be thinking of you today.
Anonymous said…
Yeah. what jen and badger said.

All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.

I know I will be a wreck when my dad's time comes. Sending you a big cyber-hug.
Anonymous said…
I am so sorry for your loss 13 years ago but still ...
Your story really touched me, I really needed to hear that everything will be ok today - thank you for being my angel today
Anonymous said…
It's amazing how reassuring those particular words are. Someone once said them to me, at a time when there was no reason to believe them. But they're true. I use those exact words quite often, because sometimes you just can't say anything better.
Anonymous said…
I could have hugged tighter if only I knew yesterday, and my hugs can be BIG as you can realize. I must keep it "cyber" myself now.
I am sure we have our angels...as I know our lives meet every now and then. That happened to me yesterday and I was so very happy.
Thank you.
I would like to remind you what a lovely family you have though. All of us do nothing but tell you how much we love your kids, how we would like our kids to be like yours. This is your pride, your legacy, your joy, your comfort, your hard work and now your reward.
Hold on to that. Enjoy it. AS we all come to understand, this is what life comes down to. Our loved ones. Con immenso affetto nel ricordo di tuo padre (there you have something to study too...)
Geggie said…
What a lovely story. Isn't it funny how strangers can say things and we believe them?
Paula said…
I don't think I could say anything better than Marain did, so I will simply say I will be thinking of you today.
Elan Morgan said…
Humanity can be so brilliant.

I like hearing about your father.
Anonymous said…
And I bet those 13 years feel like yesterday sometimes. Thank you for that, really.
Anonymous said…
bb--a sad, beautiful essay. Thanks for sharing.
Keetha said…
Blackbird, that was eloquent and heartfelt. Thanks for sharing. I'll be thinking of you today.
Jess said…
Oh, bb. That's beautiful.
And isn't it amazing how a stranger can affect us like that?

Take care of you today.
Eliane said…
Yes, make sure to have a nice day! It's heavy, having your parents die on you, I know. For sure.
halloweenlover said…
Wow, what a moment.

Sending you positive thoughts and lots of warm hugs.
Anonymous said…
What a lovely story.
Suse said…
L. said…
Such a sad day.

Dads grandchildren don't understand how sad a day it can be.

You seemed down this AM, and I prayed hard for you, for B, for Mom and of course for Dad.

Who was an angel when he lived, (maybe with little horns) and surely an angel now.

I miss him too.
kilowatthour said…
hey-- you made me cry.
Bec said…
My mum died when my two youngest were just 10 months old. I was glad she saw them born but still want to talk to her every day to tell her how all three are turning out.

The timing of an over-the-top national celebration must be especially hard.

big hugs.
tut-tut said…
I lost my mother very unexpectedly in 2001; I know what a shock (and what it is to live in shock) that is. But your angel—what a blessing.
Anonymous said…

what an inspirational memory to have from such a difficult time.

thanks for sharing it with us.

my dad died on Halloween too, sixteen years ago. it still hits me fresh every once in awhile.
Anonymous said…
Ohhhhh, that was beautiful. Thinking of you and your sorrow (a bit late, though) and wishing you well, warmth, and light.