I heard a woman crying in the airport bathroom

Manon Gauthier, illustrator. 
Portrait: Elinore et l'oiseau (Elinore and the bird)

I watch people. I sometimes write about these experiences. I share what I see, think, and feel. And what I learn. 

Karen Casey says in her book Cultivating Hope, “Every person is holy, every encounter is holy.” I believe that. Especially after this: 

Early Friday morning my husband and I are at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. We'll fly to South Bend, Indiana. We pass through security at 6:00 a.m. Terry says, “Let’s get our coffee,” and I say I'm going to the bathroom. He motions me to come his way, and I say, “I’ll meet you.” 

I go into the ladies room. It's empty, I think. Then I hear a woman crying and say, “How will I make it?” I wait for her to come out of the stall and ask, “May I help you?”

She falls into my arms and says in between sobs that her son died in a car accident last night. She arrived from Denver at 2 a.m. with an intention to visit SMU in Dallas with another son. The call came at 4 a.m. Her husband and daughter are also heading back to their home in Denver from other places. 

I say that I've had that experience (my son died unexpectedly 7 years ago and I flew from Ohio where I lived to Florida hours after the news). I held the woman as she wept. 

After about five minutes, we let go of our embrace and look into each others' eyes. Wordless. Then she walks out. 

I don’t know her name.

I'll never forget her.

I’ve thought about this encounter since then. And, I’ve had memories of those first hours and days after my son died. 

I recall that my daughter's girlfriend flew from Los Angeles to his memorial. This friend's daughter died 5 years earlier. I remember looking at this friend with disbelief, watching her smile and laugh. I thought, “She’s been through the loss of a child and she is living her day as if it is normal.” I knew if she could survive and thrive, I could. 

I hope this awareness arose in the woman I encountered on Friday.

I'm also thinking about the concept of synchronicity (first described by Carl Jung, 1920s), the experience of two or more events that are apparently causally related or unlikely to occur together by chance, yet are experienced together in a meaningful manner. 

Meaningfully related. Aligned. 

Like Jung, I'm mesmerized by the idea that life is not a series of random events, but rather an expression of a deeper order. 


  1. Beautiful blog! I'm a "classmate" from BBTL visiting your space for the first time. My husband and I live in Rhode Island right now (he is stationed here with the Navy), but we are from South Bend, Indiana...random, I know, but I saw you traveled there and thought it was kind of neat; well, that, and no one really ever admits to traveling there...lol. Looking forward to reading more from you!

    1. Thanks for the visit and comment, T. L. South Bend is the home of 7 grandchildren (gosh it's fun) and a fascinating source for lots of kid awarenesses. 7 under the age of 12. Whew!

      So you're in...let's see, Virginia? Virginia Beach area? My son was a Navy rescue swimmer, so I'm thinking about your husband and his work.

      I smiled with your Namaste greeting--I faithfully practice yoga and meditate and wonder if this is your practice. I'm heading to find your sites!

  2. This speaks to the heart of all that is right in the world and the goodness of people. Thank you.

  3. What a moving post about how we truly are all so intricately woven together despite words like "stranger" or "coincidence". Thank you for sharing your heart.

  4. Moved to tears...tears of sadness, awe, trust and faith that everything happens just as it should. A beautiful post.

  5. Susan, I get chills when I think of this story. It sounds like you were an unknowing angel, stationed at just the right moment to comfort and heal another person's heart. It takes courage just to ask if we can help another, and so much more courage and calmness to hold another person in their grief.

  6. What a deeply moving story Susan, I have chills. I love stories like these that come from the heart, the ones that show the resilience and compassion of the human spirit. Thank you for sharing.

  7. Jen, isn't it amazing how we're connected and helped, available to pay forward what we're given? Thanks for your visit and comment.

  8. Harmony, thanks for your comment. I continue to wonder about these synchronistic events. It was such a gift to ME to be able to be there for this woman at that moment.

    Later, I saw her son, bought bananas and water for them, and anonymous from the bathroom meeting, gave him the food and wished him well.

  9. I think about resilience a lot, Andi. I think resilience practice cultivates compassion. Thank you friend for being here.