My life in the world….

So I take some jewelry to be cleaned and repaired at the little stand at the mall. Since I had half an hour to spare before it was ready, I strolled down the mall and decided to stop and get a couple of Chick-Fil-A chicken and biscuits. They quit selling them at 10:30, so I began to hustle a bit to get there under the wire.

I settled down with a cup of coffee and one of the biscuits. Oh, it was so good. As I was finishing up, a black woman with white braids sat at the table in front of me. She had a carrier in her hand and I couldn’t tell what it was. I thought I saw a dog in there, so when I got up to discard my trash, I found myself saying to her, “I figured you had either a grandchild or dog in there, and I hoped it was a dog!” She laughed and said it was her dog and we started to talk. Another woman was with her and was getting their food.

We introduced ourselves. Nell is a widow from out of town. She and her friend had come in to pick up something for her air conditioner. She told me she didn’t drive much and so her friend had brought her. “I’m a widow,” she said. “For the last five years.”

I told her I was widowed myself. She explained that she was lonesome by herself so she got a dog. Her friend came back and joined our conversation. Nell tells me that her friend had lost a child recently.

We ended up exchanging war stories and I asked if they would pray with me. We joined hands and said a few words to the good Lord. Her friend was crying at that point but didn’t want to talk about her son.”

“It’s so hard,” I said. “Only one woman ever said anything to me that acknowledged me as a mother suffering a great loss. I was in traction and a nurse said, “I bet you were a great mother to her.” Every one else said hurtful things like “I don’t think I could survive if I lost a child.” As if my survival proved that I loved less than they did.

Nell wanted my phone number so she entered it in her phone and we parted company. I know I was supposed to strike up that conversation with a perfect stranger. God is good. He is the Good Shepherd

Vicki Woodyard


  1. I never really thought of this before….but I have never been acknowledged as being a good mother to my son. Not by family, not by friends. I think it showed more lack of care to my bleeding, broken heart to say “I couldn’t imagine losing a child”, “I don’t think I’d survive if my child died”, “it’s just not the natural order or life to outlive your child”, “I don’t know how you’re handling it (“it” was my beloved son, Jason) than to let me know how strong I was because he had been killed. Those words buried me deeper into grief when I needed a glimmer of light out. I know deep in the core of my soul that I was the best, most wonderful mom that Jason deserved and needed. We have suffered so that we are strong for others. We are strong because we have to be….not because we want to be or have a choice. You have suffered the loss of a child and I know you were a loving, wonderful mom to Lauren and your heart will always hurt. You have also lost your beloved husband, Bob. Your words speak volumes of how much you love your child and your husband, not in the past…..but now, always. My eyes tear up feeling your pain. I believe God puts us in the right place at the right time to reach out to strangers to comfort them because we know how to, what to say, let them know they aren’t alone in their grief. You were a blessing to Nell this morning and she to you. You have been a blessing in my life since God led me to you. God is good all the time! May God continue to bless you, Vicki.


    1. Yeah, most people don’t think of the loss of a child in that way. Some one else said “You raised her up to the age of seven to go to school and all that, and then she died.” That was an honest response and I appreciated it. And many days I think how alone I still feel. And you understand that. No one ever replaces the lost child, even if lost in adulthood, like this woman’s child was. Her tears plopped down her face as we prayed. And I was not embarrassed to ask them to pray with me. At that point I knew I wanted to. Most people wouldn’t do that, but sometimes it is meaningful. It humbles you.


  2. When I worked in a nursing home (another lifetime ago), people would say “Oh, that would be too tough on me. I don’t think I could do it.” I felt the same way, as if they thought I was hard and unfeeling. I thought…someone needs to do it, and I am one of the ones doing it. End of story.

    Loved this…moments of tenderness…the widows looking after one another.


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