It was the death certificate clutched in his hand that caught my eye.
The man standing in the lobby of Los Alamos National Bank was waiting to see a customer service representative. Having lost three family members in a row, that document had become quite familiar. It also was easy to recognize his expressionless face … braced for the heart-wrenching ordeal ahead.
As he approached the woman sitting behind the desk the grieving man avoided eye contact to keep his composure while stating his business. He explained with few words that his wife had died … that her name needed to be removed from his account.
The woman’s crisp professional demeanor visibly softened. She spoke with gentleness, her face filled with compassion. Clearly, she sensed his pain. As she processed his request, I remember thinking how her kindness made his impossible task bearable.
When he stood up so did she. He shook her hand and whispered his appreciation … still careful to not meet her eyes.
Watching him walk across the lobby toward the exit I too felt his pain. Sooner or later that level of profound sorrow touches most everyone … and when it does we can only hope to encounter a person filled with kindness, such as that women in the bank, to help us get through it.