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I want to share with everyone a story that I was reminded of that I shared on my blog, hartlovephoto.blogspot.com, about an experience I had with a little old man that I ran into at a Walmart in Lubbock while I was finishing up my classes before graduating from Texas Tech.
It has been weighing heavy on my mind as some very dear individuals from my little hometown have passed on recently, breaking the hearts of the whole community.
The blog was written on Jan. 25 of 2011 and is simply titled "The Tea":
Last night I experienced a heart wrenching moment at a place I least expected. Walmart. I know, right? Ghetto nation and I'm in the middle of it in tears at 9:00 at night. I was walking down the coffee aisle and I was trying to find my selection. I heard a sobbing to my left. Down the aisle a couple of feet, standing in front of the tea, was an older man. He was in his mid-60's I would suspect. I was hesitant to go up to him because I was unsure if he was really crying or if it was just some kind of mental or health issue and it was normal for him to be doing that. I stood there fumbling around the coffee for another minute or two to see if he would stop, but he didn't.Â
He was now covering his face with his hands just standing in front of the tea selections. So I walked up next to him and gently put my hand on his shoulder. I asked him if he was okay, or if he needed help.
He caught his breath and asked me, "What am I going to do? What kind of tea am I supposed to get?"
I wasn't sure what to think at this point. I was confused about why a man would be crying because he couldn't decide what tea to get. I asked him what kind he was looking for, such as green tea, hot tea, herbal tea, sun tea, etc. He just shook his head and kept crying.
He looked at me and said, "For the last 42 years my wife took care of the tea for me. She knew what kind I liked and always had it made for me anytime I needed it. Cancer took her from me today, and we are out of tea. I don't know what kind to get."
I immediately started tearing up but kept my composure for the moment.Â
He started crying quietly again and began to tell me about his precious wife who had lost her third bout with cancer by refusal to seek treatment this time around. He said he was holding her hand the second she stopped breathing and he knew she was his angel. He showed me some pictures of her that he had stored in his wallet. Such a pretty woman with long blonde hair and light skin.
He said all he wanted right now was to get his tea. I asked if there was someone in his family that would know and he could call...he said his wife was the only person to shop for him or make his tea. He stopped crying and apologized and glanced over the selections again and just chose a box of Lipton tea and dropped it in his basket. He looked at me again and told me I was a kind young lady and reminded him a lot of his wife in many ways and he feels like she sent me there to help him.
I'm not sure about all that, but I do feel touched by this man's story.Â He asked if he could hug me and of course I told him yes. He hugged me and said "God bless you, young lady. Thank you for your concern."
I said a quick 'you're welcome' and he went on his way.Â
I stood there kind of frozen for a minute then started lightly crying to myself. You never know where you might be at the exact moment you realize you have lost someone. For this man it was standing in the middle of a Walmart aisle. You also never realize how much someone is a part of your life until that moment. Even if it is something as simple as not knowing what kind of tea you like. I have had many of those moments after losing someone. It's a hard thing to go through, and it was great to be reminded how important loved ones are and how much they mean in my life. So don't take anything for granted and don't forget to tell those you love how much you appreciate them.Â
As of today, I still think of that sweet old man, and hope that those shopping trips got easier as time went on, and hope that everyone realizes how important the small things in life are, and how the big things and most important things in life should be the ones you love.
G.K. Chesterton said it best when saying, "When it comes to life, the critical thing is whether you take things for granted or take them with gratitude."
Tell your loved ones you love them, and take nothing for granted. Live each day to the best of your ability and always make the best of every situation.
Here's to hoping everyone's days are full of loveâ¦from the Hartland.