When Lunch Makes You Cry


I’m not sure why I feel the need to write this post as this magnanimous lady is extremely private about her life.   I will not disclose her name or how I know her nor her story, but I want you to know her essence.    I got to spend a little time with her because she needed someone to help her with her computer so she could Skype with her brother who is in another country.

Essentially, she is 90 years old and working on a 12 year old PC that was coughing and sputtering it’s last electrons of life.    A friend and I were able to hook her up with a used MacBook Pro that she wasn’t using.  I was a little worried it was going to be a learning curve because it’s totally different from a Windows 7 machine.  After about 3 hours of getting her set up and teaching her how this new computer worked, I realized just how special this lady is. She caught on to the new computer like she had been using Apple computers since their launch in the 80s!

Throughout our work session, I started to feel like I was in the company of a very extraordinary woman.    Her spark, her intelligence and her ability to comprehend and translate thoughts to actions made me feel like I had to wear sunglasses in her presence.  She has a prominent German accent that is endearing to her beautiful spirit  and you can say it feels like she is steeped in tradition foreign to mine.

After my friend and I got her up and running on the used MacBook, she wanted to take us to lunch to show her appreciation.  We went a couple of Saturdays ago to dine at the local outstanding Thai restaurant.   We ordered our food then proceeded to talk about sewing, art and general chat chat.   As the conversation progressed, we talked about how impressed we were that she could be so independent and extremely smart to pick up a new computer system at 90 years old.   She said it must be because she was on her own at 16.    Of course that gave both me and my friend pause to ask why she was on her own at 16.    The story that unfolded dropped both our jaws on the table.

She proceeded to tell her story like she was reading a book about someone else’s life.   What she had to experience as a result of Russian/German WWII advances and her path to survival was like nothing someone born in the 60s in NM could dream up.  By the time she reached the end of this epic story, my friend and I both had lumps in the throat and tears in our eyes.  When she described seeing her father again after so many years, we couldn’t hold the tears back any longer.

I felt like I had witnessed the pure essence of the human spirit.  Two and a half hours later, the restaurant had closed down and everyone was gone. Thank God they had left us there to continue our lunch. Maybe they knew there was something special exchanging between friends and they just didn’t want to interrupt. Maybe they just forgot about us in the corner of the restaurant.

Whatever the case, I was so glad they did. What we experienced that day was big. Really big.  I have thought about that conversation everyday for the last two weeks. Sometimes you just need to live in someone else’s shoes for just a couple of hours and you can feel the strength of their souls!  No matter where we come from, we are all truly connected.

I have no problems.  Never really had any – and if any come up, I’ll just remember the feeling I felt as she talked about getting on that train.  (Oops!    I did it. I won’t tell her story as I don’t have permission to do so. ) However, I will never turn down lunch to hear someone’s story no matter how many tears and emotions it brings up. This is what makes life rich!

Posted by Kristi Curry

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