A reaching out across the divide of a coffee table and a blue rag rug, a pot of stress balls and a bowl of mints and of course tissues.
Tissues, for some the whole box is gone by the end of the session; for here is the place where we talk about their loved ones who have died, or will die, or are dying, and what, what in God's name do they do now?
Caregivers suddenly finding themselves with none to care for, thrust into a world of being suddenly free and suddenly encumbered by their own needs.
And the connection happens, and my own eyes well with tears, and we remember together, because so often I have met their loved one, and sometimes I have not but feel as if I have, the stories and the heartache, the exhaustion, and the energy needed to continue to care.
In this space I am not the expert but the witness to the story, the one whose privilege it is to hear it, to sit and know with every fiber of my being that this is sacred space and sacred words, words that envelop the room and take on a energy of their own, wrapping us both in wonderment, in sadness, in so many emotions without drowning.
To think that this was not a path I wished for, that the busyness and task laden work I did for years was preferable, but killing my soul, and my feet. To find this calling of listening and helping others tell their stories happened out of necessity but has become the greatest joy.
Connection across a room, across ages, and colors, and creeds, and beliefs. Finding my own soul soothed by this mutual understanding and thread of human-ness held by two people in an interchange of thoughtful words.