Yesterday while I was walking my dogs, I came upon one of my neighbors on the sidewalk openly weeping. While it felt like an incredibly private moment happening in public, I could not help but offer what support I could. With the saddest of half smiles through tears that would not stop, my neighbor waved me away and turned toward home in agony.
I could not help it; my imagination ran wild. What terrible thing had happened? This past year has been synonymous with loss and grief for so many of us. All the tragedies and struggles of this stolen year were wrapped up in this person’s face. And, yes, clearly they are living inside me and all of us as we face our own personal struggles, but also look around us and realize that struggle is absolutely everywhere these days.
And then, of course, I thought about you. I reflected on the stories so many of you have shared with me. The pain and joy of living, of getting older, of journeying through the rite of passage that is menopause. And while tragedy comes to us all, it’s extraordinary how much gratitude most of us feel with every additional day. With the support of friends, family, and community, we lean on one another to get from the lows to the highs.
I know, this sounds like a pretty heavy walk, but it was ultimately life affirming for me. While I was ruminating on how little we know about what difficulties others are experiencing in their private lives, how you can never assume what’s happening beneath the surface of another — even when they are close to us — I was ultimately struck with how incredibly resilient we all are. How even in my neighbor’s darkest moment, they took care of me as much as I was trying to do the same for them with the simple gesture of a grateful, knowing smile through the pain. How even though we are all often in emotional or physical discomfort and life is, indeed, hard, it is the small act of reaching out and sharing the burden even for just a moment that makes life humbling and beautiful.
So thank you for the reminder. For the generosity of sharing. For being a good neighbor, sister, and friend to all of us in this community going through this layered, shared experience. As always, and somehow more than ever, I am grateful for all of you.
You are not alone. You are Kindra.