This is a photo taken on a sunny California day exactly two years ago from yesterday.
I wish I could say my family came together that day for a happy reason. It was quite the opposite.
But, I’ll get to that in a little bit.
Last week I was riding the bus to work in the morning, like I do every morning. The bus was crowded for a Friday. Passengers were standing and being packed into the #66 headed to downtown Seattle. Half-way through my ride I noticed someone sniffling loudly. I looked up from my phone and saw a young woman crying.
The reason I was keen to figure out who the sniffler was, was because I wanted to stay as far away as possible and not catch any germs. I already banked in my one cold of the year at the beginning of the month!
She looked to be about my age, maybe a few years younger, or one or two older. I didn’t recognize her as a regular rider. (You know, the same people you see on your bus day in and day out?) But, she caught my attention because as she sniffled, she had streams of tears rolling down her cheeks.
Like I said, the bus was packed so there was a man sitting next to her, and two people directly across from her. I was one “row” behind her but I had direct view of her face because she was seated in that middle “accordion” section of the bus where the seats face inward.
She had her iPhone glued to her ear as whoever was on the other end was breaking the sad news to her. It had to be sad news. Every so often she tried to blot her eyes with her sleeve. She actually wasn’t making too much noise. She wasn’t talking much and when she did talk, it was very soft and mumbled. I couldn’t hear what she had to say.
A part of me wanted to not stare. But, a part of me was also transfixed on this situation.
I started to become very sad.
Not many people cry publicly on a bus.
And, if it was some unreasonable angry situation, you would be yelling back over the phone; not be sitting quietly.
This scenario was all too familiar to me.
I’ve been that crying girl on the bus.
About a month before that quick visit to California — yes, the one where that photo above was taken — I received a call while riding the bus to work.
My dad called to tell me that my uncle had died. He had committed suicide. I felt like I was having one of those moments when life isn’t real. When you are having a nightmare and are just waiting to wake up.
Our beloved family member, who we had no idea was in need of help, had left us.
That sunny beach in California is where we had all gathered for his memorial service.
Feelings of disbelief and shock and deep sadness came rolling back to me as I looked on at this stranger who was crying on the bus. I had to stop starring for fear that I was going to start crying right then and there myself.
And, maybe her situation was nothing.
But, people do not cry over nothing on the bus.
I wanted to walk over and give her a hug, or at the very least a tissue.
Be kind to those around you. Make sure your loved ones truly know that they are loved. Tell others how you feel. If you know of someone in need of help, be there to help and support him or her.
And, if you ever see a girl (or guy) crying on the bus, be nice.