I opened the door and saw him sitting there. Surrounded by kids but his expression says it all- he felt alone.
He caught my eye and he smiled and I just stopped short.
The brave smile- it’s the one intended to wipe the sadness from my eyes. I gasped for breath and willed myself to not let him see but it was too late.
One of the last times I saw her at school, she was in the cafeteria. I caught a glimpse of her as she skipped across the room and with her half eaten, half sandwich. With a little hop she dunked it into the garbage. I just stood in the doorway mesmerized. As she turned and caught my eye, she smiled and gave me a low, “I see you,” wave. That moment- that image of her- was instantly burnt into my soul. In that second she showed me she was alright- she wasn’t the little one with a blotchy face because she cried her way through the morning. That day she was radiant, carefree, and laughing in her innocent, perfect world. Her smile told me what no words would ever describe. She was happy and I didn’t need to worry.
He flashes the brave smile so I wont be sad. He says it’s hard to see me sad. No matter how much I try to keep my chin up and my shoulders squared, I cannot change the reality that I get sad. We miss her- we just miss her. And sometimes we just need to be sad, we need to just miss her, we just need to feel it at the depth of our being. We need to live in the moment of right now and allow the very essence of what we are feeling to soak into our core.
And then- we need to stand up and square our shoulders and remind ourselves that he is not alone. She is right there with him- she is wherever he is. And when they meet again face to face- it will not be the brave smile that she is met with. It will be the smile with the low “I see you” wave.