It is so easy to feel alone. Even when there are a bunch of people around you, needing you, interacting with you, it is possible to feel it.
I should also say that it is easy to forget you are not alone. I am someone who has a tendency to crawl into my own head and hang out there by myself. As a writer and an over-thinker, there’s a lot in there to distract me. A lot to make me forget what’s going on outside of it.
A couple of months ago, I outed myself on my blog as having had disappeared for a bit because I was quietly dealing with some health issues. Honestly, the only reasons I did (kind of) share what was going on was because:
- Something I noticed about people while I was dealing with it frustrated me, and I needed to get it off my chest.
- I knew that eventually I’d have to leave my office and people who have known me in person would see me and notice the change. I’d have some explaining to do.
So I got that post off my chest after having surgery a couple months ago, then promptly forgot about number two. I moved on, as one does when she is feeling well again, ready to catch up on six-plus months of lagging behind on all the things.
This past weekend, I left the house—the state—and went to my first outing since my surgery. I’m still dealing with some dietary issues that I knew would make travel tricky, but I packed a suitcase full of food and planned to be my own advocate during meals. I knew if I didn’t eat enough, it would trigger migraines. So I packed everything I needed to prevent and recover from those, too, just in case. I waited two years to attend and speak at this event (The Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop), and was determined to relish in every moment as healthily as possible.
Me me me me.
I I I I.
Then I arrived.
Quietly, over and over again, another person who had read my blog post would come up to ask how I was feeling. Did I need anything? Could they help me in any way?
More loudly, friends would storm the kitchens during meals to demand I get my food right away, not have to wait until all the healthier folks got theirs, first. They’d squeeze me tight, look me over, fuss over me in the sweetest of ways.
New people who sat at tables with me during dinners and wondered why I didn’t have much pushed the bread basket my way, collected glasses of water from other tables, wished me luck and prayers for my full recovery.
I was handed menus and snacks and water bottles.
I was offered advice and assistance and quiet spaces.
I was not alone.
From the moment I arrived at Newark Airport to the moment I landed back there three days later, I was not alone.
Really, I’ve never been. Even when I thought I was or expected to be or the idea of not being on my own wasn’t even a consideration, I wasn’t.
They are thinking of us and hoping for us and trying to find a way to reach us.
This meant so much to me when it happened while I was growing up. I shared that story because I wanted to remind people that they can make a difference in a kid’s life so easily.
I am sharing this story now, because I forgot. I forgot that though I am a grown-up, people care about me. Big and small, obviously and quietly. They do. And it’s important to know, to remember. Friends, acquaintances, coworkers, strangers: they are all capable of caring. And they do.
So to all of you who wished me well with your heart or voice, or offered me your potatoes this weekend: thank you.
And to all of you who has ever wished anyone well with your heart or voice, or offered them their potato equivalent, I hope you know you are cared about, too.
Kim Bongiorno is an author, full time freelance writer, and the blogger behind Let Me Start By Saying. Learn more by connecting with her on: Facebook · Twitter · Instagram · Goodreads · Amazon.com · BookBub · Newsletter · Book Announcement Mailing List