Connecting with stranger led to surprises

Walking up a hill along a favorite trail of ours for the first time since losing the other half of our in my walks, my long time  friend, “Frosty, ” I was stopped by a fellow walker.   An older gentleman I imagined to be in their 70’s who told me they had to stop half way up the hill to catch their breath.    I laughed and said I too felt like stopping .  My intention was to pass by and keep walking.

He got my attention when he went on to say he was 94 and had walked the full 2 mile course the day before.  Today he thought he wouldn’t go the complete course.  He started walking with me and part of me was wanting to carry on alone  as I had remembered Frosty and was feeling some emotions.

Rather than feel any resentment I decided to share the loss with him and not feel blocked by him in joining me in this inaugural walk without my pooch.  To my surprise he shared back with me he just lost his wife a few months before.  She was 94 and they had been together 69 years. She had begun to experience dementia, fell and broke her hip and decided that this wasn’t the way she wanted to live.  She took matters into her own hands and stopped eating.  Seven days later she passed away.  He downsized, bought a new condo and only the day before bought  a new Nissan and planned a drive to Campbell River to see his daughter for her 65th birthday.   He missed his wife and went on to say the evenings were difficult with no one to sit and talk with.

By this time we had walked a quarter of the trail and came to a row of benches and he decided to sit down for a while.  We both had smiles and wished each other well and I was able to speed my walk up.  I would like to say only a fraction though.  Imagine if I had simply walked by quickly as was my habit and had not connected.  It would have been a loss of what seemed an important moment of connection, inspiration and wonder!

Take a moment for this:

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