This is going to one of those beautiful yet a little bit heartbreaking stories – one of my personal Soul Stories with no great meaning other than l simply want to share it with you all…
A few weeks ago, towards the end of my day at the Victorian Art Centre Market, l noticed a lovely elderly lady on her own, taking time to read some of my gift cards. I pretended l was busy, sketching away in my own little world, but l was secretly watching her read each story very carefully… Finally l wandered over and asked her if she needed any help? When she looked up from reading, there was something about her big round watery eyes that reminded me of my Grandma.
With her gentle glance, it was as though she had the ability to stare straight into my heart and read all of my secret stories within seconds… With a kind voice and similar accent to my German Grandma, she said something like, “Oh, dear girl, you are very beautiful inside, so kind to have all of these feelings and stories. You have a good soul, just beautiful – you feel so much…”
I was lost for words. l just stood there staring at her, struggling to find my voice and when l did, my eyes were glassy, heart full of emotion and all l could manage to squeak out was, “Thank you, you’re going to make me cry…”
We exchanged a few more words and then she told me that she would love to buy a framed Soul Stories piece but she was walking and wouldn’t be able to carry it. With trembling words, she also explained that she had lost her ‘cheri’ 6 weeks ago and struggled to fill her days with different things to do…
By that stage l was feeling like someone had reached into my chest, scooped out my heart and just tossed it away. So l ran over to my ~l dream of jeanne~ bag and pulled out an envelope and said to her, “How would you like come to the ‘Mind Body Spirit Festival’ next weekend? This ticket will get you in for free!” Her eyes lit up immediately and she couldn’t stop thanking me over and over again.
“Now l have something to do for the next weekend and l don’t have to think about it, thank you, thank you. And thank you for this free ticket, because l went to the Italian Food and Wine Festival a few weeks ago, and when l got to the door they told me that a ticket costs $75 and well, l don’t have that money, so l had to walk away… So thank you so very much for this…” In truth it sounded more like ‘Sank you, sank you’ with the adorable German accent… just like my Grandma’s.
There were so many more heartwarming pieces to our conversation, but from the snippets l have retold, it’s easy to understand her beautiful soul. By the end of her stories, she promised to find me again and waved goodbye with a huge smile on her face ~ whereas l had to reach for my sunglasses to hide my teary eyes and heartache…
I couldn’t stop thinking about her. I didn’t even know her name – yet l kept returning to this moment, this random meeting and replaying her stories in my mind. I just felt for her so much and tried to imagine what life would be like for her now.
For so many years she had been doing everything with someone else, every single day and that’s all she knew. Now, at 70 years or so, she had to relearn who she was and really work hard to create little things for herself to do each day, just to fill in time that felt forever without him…
By the time ‘Mind Body Spirit Festival’ rolled around, l was flat out, stressed out and pretty much freaking out! I had thought about her prior to installing, wondering if she would have the courage to come by. But because it was my premiere event and was fully concentrated of being present in each moment, I had forgotten about her until l heard a familiar voice (again like my Grandma) say, “Oh, there you are…”
I looked up to see big watery eyes staring back at me, filled with love and so much gratitude. “I almost didn’t find you,” she said with relief, “lve been looking and looking and almost gave up, and now l am so happy to find you…”
Ahhh, l was so thrilled that she had found her way to the Festival! l learnt that she had a wonderful day, not to mention the odd 20 more ‘sank yous’ l received.
After she told all of my customers how amazing l was (yes l was bright red by this stage and seriously embarrassed), she then told me that she HAD to buy something! I tried to argue with her, but she wasn’t having any of it. So l told her that she couldn’t buy anything unless we had a photo together!!!!
She tried to argue with me, but no chance – as you can see, l won!!
I experienced so many wonderful moments during the ‘Mind Body Spirit Festival’, but this particular moment was golden and l will always hold this story close to my heart. Shame on me, l still don’t know this beautiful lady’s name, but l do know that she will never be forgotten. Thank you beautiful lady with a heart like my Grandmas, thank you for sharing your heartbreakingly beautiful story with me and for allowing me to fill your weekend with a little extra light and joy. I hope you are finding new and wonderful things to do ~ and that each day passes a little easier and a little richer with stories like these… xxt