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Peace of mind

  One Saturday morning, I was driving all the way, planning to do some errands in the city. On the tree-shaded road in our community, I saw red police lights flashing and a group of people gathered by the side of the road. Like most vehicles in motion, I slowed down to find out what was going on.
  Horribly, I saw a yellow tarpaulin covering a body on the sidewalk. Around the body, eight or nine crashed bicycles were scattered. I used to be a cyclist when I was younger and traveled a lot by bike. Parking the car in a corner, I approached the crowd and found that they were all standing there silently, brooding.
  ”What happened?” I asked a woman as I squeezed into the crowd. “One of the cyclists in a group of cyclists had a flat tire, so everyone was parked on the pavement waiting for him to fix it.” She paused, then pointed to the canvas-covered body. “A large truck turned too fast, lost control, and crashed into a cyclist, killing one rider, injuring many, and now being taken away by ambulance. Poor Here lies the young dead.”
  I sat down on the sidewalk. The police are using yellow plastic tape to enclose the restricted area, and they are questioning and investigating the perpetrators. The truck driver is also a young man. On the lawn not far away, the truck that caused the accident was still parked there.
  Instead of running errands that day, I sat on the sidewalk for over an hour. I feel sorry for the young man who lost his life and for his family who lost a loved one. It was three months later that I realized why I “happen” to be at the accident scene and why I didn’t let myself get out of there sooner.
  My granddaughter Autumn works in a middle school. One day, she called and asked me to do something for her.
  ”You must do me this favor,” Autumn begged. “A colleague I work with had her son run over by a car in a bicycle accident a few months ago. She’s always working a while now and will run into the back room and cry for a while. You You know how to comfort someone, so you have to do me a favor.”
  Cycling accident? It suddenly dawned on me that the young man who died that day was the son of a colleague who worked with Autumn.
  I told my granddaughter that I had to seriously think about—here, can I help without irritating people’s sentimental feelings? After all this lady doesn’t know me, and I don’t know her or her son. As I brooded and immersed my mind in what I called the “Quiet Zone,” a plan gradually emerged, but I wasn’t sure if the idea would work. I asked Autumn to tell this lady that I have indeed undertaken a lot of hospice affairs, but because this lady lives in a different cultural and customs background than ours, I may not be aware of the hospice. content. Autumn did what I wanted and gave my phone number to the lady named Shahema.
  I was amazed when Shahema called. She kept crying on the phone. My gut told me that it would be more appropriate to meet at a different location that was neither mine nor hers. I asked Shahema if she would like to meet me in the park. I told her the park was quiet and we could pick a picnic table and have a good chat. She replied that the only time she could see me was after 7am. I agreed and suggested she bring the family photo album.
  The next day, I went to the park with a large teapot and two cups. After 10 minutes of waiting, Shahema still didn’t appear. Just as I was trying to figure out why, I saw her holding several photo albums and walking towards me staggeringly.
  Shahema is still crying. I got up to meet her, took the photo album, put it on the table, and gave her a sincere hug. We both sat silently for at least 5 minutes without saying a word. Shahema is a small woman, a new immigrant from a far-flung country. I stroked her shoulder and made her cry, and when I handed her a tissue, she was using a colorful handkerchief.
  We both sipped hot tea and browsed the photos on each page of the photo album. Shahema slowly turned the pages and introduced me to every member of her family pictured. Whenever Shahema’s son appears in a photo, we take a long look at it. The photo exhibition of her son began in infancy, and as the age increased, vivid images unfolded before our eyes: play in kindergarten, race in elementary school, basketball game in middle school, speeches, graduation ceremony in college… Her son is clearly a dazzling new star in the family, especially the hope in her mother’s life. He was tall, with a dark brown skin and the handsomeness of a movie actor.
  By the time we closed the last page of the photo album, Shahema had stopped crying and, for a few moments, occasionally smiled a natural smile, and gently wiped it with her hand—the corner of her eye. We never talked about my work in the hospice, and I didn’t try to reassure her with any “vivid” language. I just stroked her shoulder lightly from time to time and looked at her with sincere eyes. We are two women from different cultural traditions who understand the feelings of grief, fused together at a certain intersection of our lives.
  I told Shahema, if she wants, please come to me at any time, we can become close friends, go shopping together, go to the library, museum, go to the park to relax, chat together… Shahema said that she felt It was such a blessing to meet a charitable elder like me during the most difficult stage of her life. She hopes to be good friends with me.
  In the next few days, we went to shopping supermarkets, libraries, cafes, cinemas… Everywhere I went, I patiently introduced local customs, history, geography, and climate to Shahema… From
  the bottom of my heart I believe that since that day, Shahema’s grief is gradually disappearing. About a little over a week later, I received a letter from her in beautiful words: “…Thank you for helping me, for the interest and kindness you showed to my dear son…”
  For me , and most comfortingly, Autumn says Shahema is no longer hiding in the back room to cry.

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