The other week I was dropping my daughter off for her last week of camp. As we were getting out of the car a large Infinite SUV rushed into the lot and parked next to us. I was a bit annoyed at how fast he was going so I kept Alexis close to me while getting her things out of the back seat.
When we finally got to the playground, I noticed this gentleman in his suit, slicked back hair and sunglasses with his little boy about the same age as Alexis clinging to him and crying. The man was trying to pull him off saying that he really needed to go and would pick him up later.
In those couple of minutes of watching this man and his son, whom I have never met and honestly never remember seeing during drop-off, I made a judgment.
This guy had to be a first class asshole. From my vantage point, he relied on the camp teachers to comfort and reassure his son. I mean he didn't even bother to take off his sunglasses while inside the building and then rushed faster out of the parking lot then he did rushing in.
Guy was probably more worried about his career than his own son. What a dick!
As I sat in my car, I realized that I had just made up this guy's entire life in about 30 seconds in MY. OWN. MIND.
With that I shifted to "what if". What if this man just found out that his wife was diagnosed with cancer. What if his son could sense something was wrong at home but was too young to be told what was going on but was clinging because he was scared because he could sense his parents were scared. What if his dad just didn't have the support right now and was just doing the best he could at that point in time of his life.
I thought back to my own experiences when I was in the depths of my grief right after mom's death. Most days as I was leaving work, I would put my sunglasses on at my desk as I knew I wouldn't make to my car before the tears started. And if someone would stop me in the hall on my way out, I would take a lot of deep breaths and try to keep the conversation as short as possible.
I wondered if this is what is meant when Buddha said "everything is an illusion". Honestly, I have no idea. Studying Buddhism is on my list eventually.
If people didn't know what was going on with me, what did they think? And depending on who I was talking to I may not have wanted to share that I was about to break down and just needed to get the hell out of there. These emotions and tears didn't end after the first week, first month or even the first year. While thankfully not as frequent, I still have those days, but if people have not experienced a traumatic and sudden death of a loved one can they understand what a flashback feels like? Do they think I'm weak? Crazy? A big baby?
I don't think I am. I think I'm a daughter who loved and had a special (although not perfect) relationship with her mom. I'm a daughter that misses sharing the milestone moments of her life with her mom. I'm a daughter who deeply regrets not saying "I love you" enough. I'm a mom with a daughter who doesn't remember her grandma except from photographs.
So in the less than 5 minutes of observing this man, I chose my more compassionate illusion of him. I sent up a prayer that he received what ever he needed to comfort himself and therefore his son. I truly hoped that prayer is answered.
That night I told my husband about my experience and was feeling a bit proud of myself for having such a spiritual epiphany. He listened and said it was a nice thought but then remarked "you know, your first intuition about the guy was probably right".
Sigh... Trusting my intuition is a completely whole other issue for me. And if you know my life story, you know why.