Loss, Nudgings & the Eifel Tower
A glimmer of light catches my eye. I turn and walk toward the object reflecting the fluorescent light above. It’s exactly what I thought it was; its lines, moments before only apparent in my peripheral vision. An Eifel Tower. Not the Eifel Tower, but a shiny, silver wire replica.
It’s the same statue I bought for my best friend, Suzi, who passed away about six months ago. I bought it for her birthday a few years ago. I don’t even remember which year, just that when I saw it, I knew she had to have it. She had a love affair with the City of Light – Paris. She was so excited when she pulled it out of the gift bag, laughing as tissue spilled out all over.
Since purchasing the statue years ago, I’ve not seen it at the store, until today. I pick it up and hold it, turning to view it from each side. Light catches here and there. I can still see it sitting on the wooden chest in her living room, an antique map of Paris hanging directly above. I have an urge to buy it and bring it home, so I can view it from my desk.
As I reflect on whether or not I should make the purchase, I can feel my heart growing sad. It’s not sad everyday now, but there are days when I miss her greatly. She was like a sister to me and walked with me through many, many years as an encourager, joy bringer, laughter maker and wisdom provider. Her passing has left a void I’m not sure will ever be filled.
Gently I place the statue on top of my purse in the shopping cart. I’ll walk around and decide. I’ve already found the paper towel I originally came for and walk aimlessly through the store debating my purchase. What does it mean if I buy it? It won’t bring her back. It made her so happy, though. Is it the wrong thing to do, to buy something to remember someone by? Will it make things more difficult or be a point of healing?
My phone buzzes with a new e-mail and with nothing else to do, I open it. An e-mail sent by my sister, apologizing for not sending me some information on grief she’d found and thought might be helpful. No problem, I think. She was just thinking about me and heard a song she’d thought might encourage me. She’d send the information as soon as she could.
I shake my head, knowing her timing wasn’t hers alone. Have you ever had those moments, a slight urge to contact someone out of the blue? I try to follow those nudgings, when I feel them pressing upon my heart. I don’t always, but when I do, I’m often surprised to learn the timing was so perfect – almost divinely ordained. Seeing the statue today, my heart was saddened and in that moment, an unexpected but very timely e-mail arrived. The words don’t say, “You’re not alone in this.” But they convey the message loud and clear, as if piped through the loud speakers of the store I was wandering through aimlessly.
Looking down at the statue, the silver winks at me, glinting in the light. I feel a spark of happiness and smile. It made my friend happy and that memory makes my heart happy. I head to the checkout line and bring it home to remember the good times, the joy and her smile.