I never know what will trigger it. The pain attacks me without warning at least once a week. It’s not a pain that can be felt in my bones or in my body. It is a pain that strikes at the center of my being. Today the pain was prompted by a perfectly pleasant conversation with the college switchboard operator, a petite older woman named Nancy. I was leaving some outgoing mail on her desk and we began chatting. Nancy is one of the friendliest people on campus. She greets everyone who walks in the front door of the administration building with a “Hello, how are you today?” and the sincerest of smiles. And yet I walked away from our conversation struggling to hold back tears. (The tears are coming again now, as I write this.)
Nancy was telling me about watching her four year-old grandson’s soccer games this fall, and all of the funny things he does – how he gives his dad a thumbs-up whenever he does something he thinks is good; how the entire team stops in mid-action to ogle at a small airplane as it files overhead; how her grandson’s teammate paused one time at the sideline to ask his mom when the game was going to be over because he was getting hungry, all the while eyeing the post-game snacks.