I was coming home from the gym and saw that my downstairs neighbour was sitting on the steps having a smoke. I felt happy and energized, something that I felt from her demeanor she did not. So I stopped to talk to her. Asked how she was. She had previously told me that her son has a brain tumour, so I asked her was everything okay. Wiping her silent tears away she said she is sad that her son’s health has deteriorated again.
So I stopped what I was doing to have a moment with her. Having to lower my energetic sweaty demeanor into a listening comforting mode in just few seconds. Something what us humans are surprisingly capable of, sensing situations, just being present. Even though we often don’t want to show it. It is in us.
So on that dark rainy night I listened to this woman because I felt her sadness. Because I felt she needed that.
She told me how she has chosen to support him during these years because he would not make it on his own. Having been diagnosed at thirtyeight with three month’s to live he had done good to be as far as he was now in his early fifties.
As she was pouring her sadness in front of me I tried to be present and listen thinking what to say to her that she would feel more empowered. What can one say in a situation like that? I did manage to find the words and they did not feel ridiculous or empty.
I validated her for being a good mom. She bares the pain and does not run away like most people would. So doing that she is stronger than what she thinks. Maybe she needed to hear that, maybe not. Often in situations like that I feel whatever one says does not matter as much as it matters just to listen.
I left her that night thinking how amazing it is that we show strenght in so many different ways everyday but many times won’t even recognize doing so. I think it is up to us to tell those people we see that they have been strong. To empower each other to survive.
To give good.
After having that moment with her I realized once again to have an appreciation on my health. To appreciate family and friends and to show it more. Even though we spent only five minutes together I felt like we both got something out of it. She had been heard and I had been kind. I had learned to be present and listen. I know this does not take away her pain but it sure will make her load just a bit easier to carry.
So next time you feel someone needs a listening ear. Stop and listen. Give a bit of your time because we will never know what can come out of it. It’s the little things that matter.