Do You See Me Now?

I thought that I would be okay to go to work yesterday. 

“Nicole, just tough it through one day,” I told myself.  “Then you can take the next three days off from work as bereavement time.”

Sounded good when I said it over in my head.  And I honestly thought that nothing at work could spark the tears that have been flowing quite freely these past few days.  But I arrived at work for 8am and was in tears by 8:07am.  So much for being tough throughout the day.  There I was, crying and looking for a tissue… and laughing because –well– it was better than crying.  I was quite the office drama.

And I noticed that everyone avoided me like the plague for the rest of the day.  I think they were afraid that I might lose it again… and then they wouldn’t know what to do.

During lunch, I had to make a run to the grocery store.  By this point, my makeup had been fixed a bit (no raccoon eyes) and my eyes were dry. In fact, if you just rushed past me, you would see a confident, quiet young woman. I even smiled at the checkout counter girl and made small talk.  I was the perfect image of a girl who was absolutely fine… even if I was a wreck inside.

While walking through the parking lot to my car, I noticed that life for everyone else was moving forward as always.  A woman — balancing a kid on one hip and an iced coffee in her free hand — rushed to her car.  An EMT was casually eating a salad for lunch, treating the parking lot as though it were some kind of diner.  A little boy was skipping over to his grandmother, and a man in a suit talked on a phone while sitting in his fancy sports car.  Life was rushing past and no one knew that this curly-haired girl had just lost someone she loved.

And it made me think… How many people do I pass by every day who are hurting like this?  How many people at work put on a brave face but are really crying inside?  How many people do you see every day that look perfectly fine but are feeling as though their entire world is crashing down around them.

It makes me want to slow down… Not just now but also in the future. It makes me want to see people.  Not just to look at them, but to really see them for the human being that they are.  Because maybe — just maybe — they need someone to be there for them and not just someone who is going to rush by without a thought.  Sometimes, even just a sympathetic smile is enough.  Sometimes, you just need to know that someone saw you.

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7 Responses to Do You See Me Now?

  1. hannahkaty says:

    I am so glad you wrote this. Definitely something that I think quite a bit about… Its hard to think about people walking around feeling the same way that we feel sometimes. But it can be comforting as well, to know that we are not really all that different.

    “It makes me want to slow down… Not just now but also in the future. It makes me want to see people. Not just to look at them, but to really see them for the human being that they are.” Lovedddd this.


    Hannah Katy

  2. Lisa Jacobs says:

    That was so extremely touching. I’m sorry for your loss, I know exactly what it’s like to treasure a grandparent. Grief is such an amazing function, your body knows just what to do to wash your sorrow. Well done, and continue to take your time with it. ♥

  3. This is so true and it’s something I’ve actually been thinking a lot about too. Great post!

  4. alliecakes says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. This post was so insightful and true – I often think about something similar to this – mostly, just how you never know what someone is going through.
    Hang in there! *big hugs*

  5. Laura Schaefer says:

    I’ve been so absent, I missed all of this. I hope that you and your family are doing ok. From experience I know there’s not much I can say that’ll make a huge difference, but hang in there. Hugs to you.

  6. Cindy says:

    I came across this post by chance, a link on twitter lead me here and from the first sentence I felt like I knew you. Not knew you like I’m going to stalk you and we should be best friends but knew you because the person you described has been me for the last 5 months. My mom died on Jan 16 and I have been that wreck inside that goes unnoticed because I know how to mask it…mostly. Until you break down doing the most simple tasks or cause a scene in the middle of trying on clothes and nothing works and your mommy isn’t there to help you pick out clothes. Thank you for putting it into such eloquent words…and helping me realize that I’m not the only one.

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