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. 

Author Karen Casey says “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. 

She sobs and after a few moments, I say that "I've had that experience, too" (my son died unexpectedly 7 years ago). Just those words. (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 a girlfriend whose daughter had died five years earlier flying from Los Angeles to my son's memorial. I remember looking at her with disbelief, watching her smile and laugh. I thought, “She’s been through the loss of a child and she is living her day joyfully.” I knew if she could survive and thrive, I could. 

Perhaps this awareness arose in the woman I encountered in the airport bathroom.

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. A connection, a deep connection fostered through the understanding that arises within our own (faced) sufferings.