Lately I have been, let us say, hesitant to be among people. I am not in control of my emotions and may cry at the slightest provocation. I know this is perfectly normal under the circumstances, but I don’t want to make people uncomfortable and I don’t want to have to explain myself. I find myself making choices about which store to go in based on the likelihood of running into someone I know. I have valued my conversations with friends and family and co-workers but I just don’t want to keep running into acquaintances unprepared, when I am just trying to pick up something for dinner or do an errand.
This morning I went into my local Walgreens, hoping as usual not to see anyone who knows me. I needed to pick up some prescriptions. I didn’t seen anyone I knew, but the lady at the prescription counter said, “Are you Jesse’s mother?” She had of course seen the name on my FlexPay card. Her voice was as kind as any I have ever heard and my heart melted a little. “Did you know Jesse?” I asked. She said that she also works at another Walgreens where Jesse picked up his prescriptions.
“Did you find out from the paper?” I asked. No – a young woman who works at the other Walgreens is a friend of Jesse’s. The sweet lady told me what a wonderful personality Jesse had and how he had always been so polite and charming. She told me how sorry she was and I thanked her.
I had run into someone I didn’t even know but who remembered Jesse in so positive a light. That felt good — in a sad sort of way of course. More and more I am finding out how many ripples in the community my son made in his short life. When children are born, their parents are the only connection they have to the world at large. When Jesse was young I introduced him to the friends he had. In the school years I encouraged him to invite friends over and gave birthday parties and other gatherings. It seemed to me he tended to be a loner and I wanted to gently help him develop his social skills.
It is long since that he took responsibility for his own social connections and grew his little community far beyond the one I created for him. It amazes me to see how far his network went and how many people have told me they considered Jesse a friend. It pleases me that he was making a positive impact on his world, even if the impact was only being friendly to the lady at the prescription counter or serving his customers well at Shiny Computers or helping out a friend going through a difficult time. I don’t think that while he lived on earth he had any idea how much he meant to so many people. I hope he knows now.