Beautiful people

Traveling this week for business, I found myself tossed into a sea of humanity.

Rolling suitcases. iPhones & ear buds. Cell conversations continuing as doors are closed. Electricity charging areas in airport waiting rooms.  Subtle manners not consistently displayed.

Standing in line, I noticed something consistent in every airport I waited: no one looked at each other, everyone looked down …thumbs moving.   All this technology connects us yet people seem more isolated than ever.  ~sigh~

And then there she was.

An older lady, traveling alone, looked me in the eye and smiled as she took the seat next to me in Detroit.

photo source:

photo source:

Heading home to St. Louis, she’d been in Boston, visiting a daughter who doesn’t come home much anymore.

Her husband, too frail and fearful to travel these days. Her son, picking her up when the plane lands. Her stories.

About the longing in her voice when she talked of the pace of the trip, wiping away her tears as she cautiously stated they’d not seen much of each other in the five days she’d been there.

About how she really didn’t go to be a tourist, she went to see her. To be with her. To know her.

I couldn’t help but think about my Mom and the times I’ve traveled to see her.  Some of our best times have been in the absence of others.  I thought of the  laughter, our meandering conversations, and the complete lack of schedule – on purpose.

We got off the plane and I walked with her until I spotted my colleagues; she stood there, small and quiet and a little bit lost. So I did the only thing I could think to do: I hugged her.  She hugged me back like I was hers and it was in that very moment that I wished Sally’s daughter in Boston could understand that Mothers don’t just come to visit.  They come to matter.

“The most beautiful people we have known are those who have known defeat, known suffering, known struggle, known loss, and have found their way out of the depths. These persons have an appreciation, a sensitivity, and an understanding of life that fills them with compassion, gentleness, and a deep loving concern. Beautiful people do not just happen.”
― Elisabeth Kübler-Ross

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Today marks 3 years as a Word Press Blogger!  You can read my first post, “Who’s the Turkey?” here

Categories: Beauty, Faith, Family, Home, Life, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 41 Comments

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41 thoughts on “Beautiful people

  1. Wow, isn’t that the truth! Mothers come to matter. I suppose most folks do, now that I think of it.

    And congratulations on 3 years of blogging. It will be three for me in just under a month!

    Hugs from Ecuador,

    • I think everyone wants to matter; what resonated with me was the longing in her voice. Her quiet tears nearly broke my heart.

      I’d always heard of estranged mother-daughter relationships and there were times that my Mom & I didn’t see eye-to-eye but she was never far from my heart. I was hit by a jolt of appreciation for our relationship.

      Thanks for the congrats = 3 years, who knew?

  2. Such a beautiful post. Appreciating my mother more.

  3. Wonderful post MJ. Congratulations on 3 years!

  4. Congrats on your three years, MJ. (You were just a couple of weeks behind me.) As we’ve said before, I’m so glad we discovered each other in this big ol’ blogging world.
    How sad that Sally and her daughter don’t have the relationship you have with your mother, and that I had with mine. It always saddens me to hear of those situations. It makes me realize more than ever how blessed I was know my mother’s love.
    (Oh, and I’m sure that hug meant the world to Sally!)

    • Agreed, crossing paths with you has been a delight :). I consider you my friend!

      The moment could have been missed; I was holding my book the whole time but I never opened it. There must be something soothing about unburdening oneself to a total stranger. She was such a dear lady, and I’m glad I got out of my own way and gave her a hug.


  5. She needed an angel and there you were.

    • You know, every day we are given the opportunity to really be “in the moment” for someone else. I don’t always take it, but I am glad I did that day. MJ

  6. Great post. I am that mom who goes to Boston to visit with her but there is no time and I was never a cook. I wonder why I go and just realized it has been a couple of years since I visited. She comes maybe once a year. This made me sad because I know she does not mean to not have time. Life is different now. Thank you. I am learning at the end of life to cook. You are certainly an angel to look and listen to her!

    • I know what you mean, Linda, as we had visits like that when the kids were younger – a flourish of activities, keeping up with everyone, going here, going there. And her sad little face (never saying a thing, though) when we left again in a flurry. The best times with Mom have been since I started going on my own – no husband or kids to feed/entertain/etc. We might plan one outing – maybe. My very favorite time was staying with her during a blizzard and no one could get to us — great fun! On the cooking thing, don’t let that stop you from getting together. I would suspect she’d love for you to ask — maybe you can plan a trip together to a place where neither has to cook — 3 days in a hotel with time to just talk and be together 🙂

      Bests! MJ

      • Thanks, MJ. Good idea!

      • One of the best “visits” we ever had was my sister and I taking Mom for 6 days away to Branson, MO. Yes we saw shows but the very best part? No one had to cook. No one had to clean> We got to be “girlfriends” for 7 days and boy was it ever grand 🙂

  7. Congratulations on your blogiversary! That’s staying power. When my husband and I visit his kids, it’s all “doing stuff” we really don’t want to do or having big parties where they are running around and their friends “entertain” us. I am not sure how to have that conversation but the best part of the trip is often just sitting around (after everyone leaves) and talking. Too bad we have to do the other stuff first.

    • I’ve been guilty of those kinds of visits, too – trying to jam in too much. You nailed it — the best moments are those spent sitting around the kitchen table, talking, and connecting. I miss my Mom always but I also have no regrets – there is nothing left unsaid. I’m just selfish enough to always want more time with her, face-to-face.

      Thanks for weighing in, Kate 🙂

  8. Marsha Snowden Hulce

    Another hankie grabber. This was sooo touching.

  9. Love your last line and Love Leroy’s comment.
    Congratulations on three years! I started around Labor Day three years ago but it didn’t start to “matter” until months later when I gradually crossed paths with you and other community friends..

    • Thank you, I’m glad I put down my book and listened to what she had to say b/c she obviously needed to say it. I’m also happy that I gave her the hug; it was well received.
      I’m glad our paths crossed, GS 🙂

  10. I am so thankful there are people like you in this world. We need to keep reaching out to one another. You’re right about technology. It keeps us connected – to our own circles of family and friends. But it’s preventing us from stepping outside of those circles.

    • Maybe I’m a sap but I think there are still lots of people who would do this — I guess I question whether our newer culture will foster it?

      That’s the part of traveling that I like = connecting 🙂

      Hope your Mom & Dad are faring better these days, Terri.

  11. lets face it….you’re a tender-heart. 🙂 I’m always a little surprised when little old ladies who come into my store and relay their sad story onto me about the death of a loved one and I give them a little hug and they give me a bear hug in return. Literally, a….BEAR-HUG. Makes me think that they need someone in their life to hug ’em more often.

    • ::busted::

      I agree — touch is a powerful thing. Bless you for hugging those little old gals. Someday that will be us. Hope someone hugs us then 🙂


  12. Congratulations on three years, MJ! I’m so glad the lady was drawn to sit by you. I hope her daughter becomes wise before it is too late.

    • Thank you, Patti. And yes, I hope the same thing. I told hubbs the story last night and was drawn to tears again; he even got a little choked up. He’s usually the person people tell their stories to, so he knows exactly how that goes. Bests! MJ

  13. Aahh, I love your words…”Mothers don’t just come to visit. They come to matter.” Beautifully expressed! So sweet of you to take the time to listen. The quote is perfect.
    Also, congratulations on three years of blogging! You’re an inspiration and a joy! ~ Sheila

    • Thank you, I’m glad you enjoyed it. I’m still thinking about little Sally and hoping she got home safely. Thanks for the kudos — I’m glad we’ve “met” through our blogs, Sheila! MJ

  14. Jude

    You are a kind person Marilyn

  15. What a lovely thought. I’m glad Sally had you to hug her! Happy blogiversary MJ!

  16. A really moving post, MJ. Thanks for sharing your experience, and congrats on your three years here. I’m off to read your first post. 🙂

  17. Thank you, what a beautiful and touching post. I have been thinking about mothers and daughters a lot lately. My mom lives on the other side of the world, I see her every couple of years and I sometimes miss her so much. As a mother now myself, I can only imagine how I would feel in the position of the woman you met. I love the quote from Kubler-Ross too: beautiful people don’t just happen, and I’ve been very blessed to have met quite a few of them. I also have been noticing the technology-induced disconnect you mention, a lot lately, on trains and buses, even walking down the street. To look up and meet eyes with someone has become almost a transgressive act. Happy to have discovered your blog today.

    • Thank you for finding me 🙂

      I think technology is great, after all, look how we’re communicating. But it can’t take the place of a touch, a look, a listen. Bests to you for a glorious Day. It’s windy and cold here in Michigan.

  18. Pingback: Boosting Your Introvert Energy and Mood with Food | space2live

  19. If only Sally’s daughter would realize all this before it’s too late. Thank you for sharing Sally with us. 🙂

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