I received an email from the blood bank that if I donated blood this month, I would get both a free movie ticket and a t-shirt, so I made an appointment to donate after work. The blood mobile was crowded and the waiting made me anxious. I began to worry that I wouldn’t be able to donate and instead would make a run for it. Plus, my favorite nurse, who is a funny Jamaican lady, was crabby. Clearly, something was wrong.
Finally it was my turn on the donation bed. The nurse hooked me up and asked me, “What kind of work do you do?”
There it is. If I weren’t
psychic an HSP, I may have thought this was an ordinary question, despite the fact that she didn’t ask any of the other five donors about their work – but I saw the look in her eyes. It was innocence. She was following her gut without knowing why. I knew where it was going.
First I tested her resolve by answering truthfully that I work at the clothing store. She replied that she liked shopping in that store, but she was waiting for more. Okay. “I used to be a Funeral Director.”
“Really? I just went to a funeral two days ago… for my nephew. He was two months old. He died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, SIDS.”
“That is so sad”, I said, “and the worst part is there are no answers. You never find out why that happened. It’s very hard.”
“Yes!” she gushed.
I had just expressed her distress and her nagging thoughts into words – and it made her happy because it gave her relief. She said, “He was such a sweet baby.”
She went to check on another donor and when she returned to my side, I said the only thing a person can say – “I’m sorry for your loss.”
Later, when I got up from the donation bed, she threw her arms around me and gave me a big hug, Jamaican style. I received it like a repressed white girl; I didn’t hug her back because I didn’t want to bend the arm that I had just donated from. I stood in her embrace like a tree. Oh well, maybe she didn’t notice. Then she thanked me again, told me to take extra cookies, and thanked me again.
The thing about SIDS you see, is that it sounds medical… Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. And by state law, there has to be an investigation of the home and usually an autopsy of the child. The whole process of burial becomes a turmoil. But, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome means “we don’t know why your child died”. We don’t know and there will never be answers for you. It’s very hard for families. I guess she just needed to hear that and I got chosen to be the one to tell her.
“Comforting a Stranger.” is copyright © 2015 by 18mitzvot. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
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