Thursday, April 12, 2012

Letting strangers in.....

Do you think strangers come into our lives for a reason?

Yesterday, a chance meeting made me question whether I believe that things….or people, appear like magic when we need that little extra something…..

I’ve discovered on my journey of challenges and grief that who we surround ourselves with, who we hold on to, can have a huge effect on surviving, well, almost anything.

Yesterday I took Dempsey to our favorite park.  Purple wisteria vines were dripping with blossoms.

It’s difficult to describe wisteria’s unique beauty and perfume unless you’ve seen one in full bloom.

They make me think of my mum…one of her favorite things...

So with the sun warming my back, feeling kinda surrounded by Spring, I took out my book, watching Dempsey unpack her shovel and pail and jump rope.

A young couple sat behind me, their newborn in a stroller parked up beside them…the wife sitting cross legged on a blue rug while her husband read her verse out of the Bible…I should’ve known it wouldn’t be a normal park outing!! :)

Dempsey is like a magnet with other kids….it wasn’t even five minutes after we arrived when a pretty little blonde girl shyly buddied up to her…and as you do when you’re that age, you become fast friends.

I sat there watching Demps interact with this little girl, sharing her skipping rope…smiling and making small talk.

Usually, watching her with other kids’ manages to squeeze my heart…that her sister isn’t here.

And while yelling to Dempsey to make sure she shared, an older lady sitting not far away spoke up…in my direction!

The conversation went like this….

“Are you Australian? I’m Rose by the way…”

“Yes, I am….but we live here.”

“Oh, I thought so, is your husband Australian too? Do you have family live close by?”

“No, my husband is an Aussie too. We don’t have any family here, just friends…”

For the next few minutes we chatted....until the lady’s next question.

“Gee, you must miss your Mum?”

Now this is when it gets funny, because I usually hide my story or who I am from strangers, you know, leave ‘stuff’ out, the sad ‘stuff’….especially with ones I meet in a park!

But this lady had such a warm energy about her; she reminded me of my mum…I could tell she was kind and loving from her smile and her warm energy.

So I told her that yes, I miss my mum every day, but that she died a while ago now.

And I don’t know why I do this when I tell people that but I sorta felt awkward, like this lady would feel uncomfortable and make an escape within seconds.

But she didn’t.

She got up, walked over and started chatting more to me. Asking me whether I had a sister….which I thought was odd, that she didn’t ask about a brother or my dad?

And automatically, I sort of made this weird giggle, nervous sound….as I contemplated…should I tell her about my sister Tarnia? And it was strange but I felt very comfortable with this lady….so I shared.

However, she didn’t run away, she kept talking, asking me what happened to Tarina….did she have children etc etc.

Then she said her daughter had lost a child last year, a premmy of 28 weeks.   And she told me how awful it was to lose a child.   And I wanted to say, “I know!”   And for a while I listened and comforted her and the conversation turned to…. “Is Dempsey your only child?”

It only took a second to decide I’d share Savannah’s story…  But I always feel awkward, telling strangers about all 3 of my losses, it usually turns me into some sort of freak.

And I could see behind her sunglasses, her eyes were full of tears.

What she did next surprised me and I’ve never had a stranger do it but she said… “Oh I feel like I should give you a hug…can I?”

I almost leapt out of my seat.

She hugged me so hard my neck clicked! :)

We sat together for the next 2 hours talking about life and I felt like I’d had a chat with my mum.

Dempsey was happily playing on the slide with Rose’s granddaughter when I realized we had to go. Rose then piped up and said  “Would you like to go to lunch next week?”

I patted her shoulder and told her she was sweet to ask, but I felt odd…here was this stranger, reaching out, offering me the middle of a park on a sunny Spring afternoon…and I wondered, “Do I let this stranger into my life?”

She rummaged through her hand bag for a pen, asking me for my number….”Maybe if you don’t want to do lunch, we can go walking together? I’d really like that” she said.

And I didn’t even hesitate before I answered “I’d like that too!”

When I got into my car, I choked up, my eyes filled with tears as I waved Rose goodbye. I don’t know why, probably because she reminded me so much of my mum and what I’m missing…also, talking about everything sometimes have a habit of stirring up old emotions.

But Rose didn’t have an agenda, just another mother who is caring, who took the time to offer support to a stranger. Who has the ability to make a difference…we all do…

Rose text me this morning and we’re going walking tomorrow…around the hills near my home. :)

Sometimes old friends help us through our ‘stuff’ and sometimes its new friends. For in the blink of an eye life can change…we just hold on and see where this journey takes us…


  1. Oh, Diana.

    I am so pleased you and Dempsey had this wonderful experience. It must have been beautiful to feel like you could share about Tarnia, your Mum and Savannah with Rose. I hope you continue to keep in touch with them and share your lives in the meaningful way that you seem to be doing.

    Best wishes,


  2. Such a lovely story, Diana ~ I hope this blossoms into a beautiful friendship for both of you ♥

  3. What a lovely story! Think of it this way, after today's meeting you'll no longer be strangers, you'll be friends. After all, don't we all start out as strangers? My best-friend and I met in a similar way. We have been nest-friends for 15 years now!

  4. Hi Casey,

    Thanks for stopping by and for the lovely comment...your words are so true. We had a great walk this morning with Rose and I feel grateful I've connected with her.
    with love and sunshine Casey! :)

    Diana x

  5. Marty,

    Love to see your smiling photo in my comments, always makes ME smile! :)

    Yes I hope so too as Rose reminds me of mum. We had coffee at Mimi's and an hour walk this morning. I hope we can do it again. Sharing is healing! :)
    sending a hug to you
    Diana x

  6. Candice,

    Thanks for sharing, so true, your comments about how we all start off before we are true friends...I feel like I know you through your blog now! :)

    Rose has taught me one thing this last few days and that is if you reach out you can touch anothers life...thanks for always sending me your postive warm thoughts, you have that gift too!

    with love
    Diana x

  7. That's heart warming. My Dad's house (in the South of France) is covered in wisteria - it always reminds me of Catherine - not sure why.

    I think if you reach out to people, and are open to being reached out to - ie. not sitting at home taking valium and drinking vodka (well not every day, anyway ;-) - then you will always connect with other empathetic people. Even if they are only 1% of the population - you've just gotta bump into one occassionally. That thought keeps me going when I'm dealing with some insensitive idiot.

    I miss my mum too. She isn't dead. She's just emotionally unavailable. It's funny - but I think you really need your mum when your child dies. I have a lovely friend who lost her daughter to anorexia in her teens. Her own mother abandoned her with an abusive father when she was 5 years old, and never saw her again - but we still sit for hours talking about whether she should look for her mother, and her need to tell her about her own daughter.

    How lovely that you and Rose have found each other. Wish we were close enough for coffee and a hike X x

  8. Hi Susan,

    Wisteria holds so many memories for me too....I always have to have a whiff when it's out. Your dads house sounds amazing! The vine probably reminds you of Catherine because of it's beauty. :)

    Had to laugh at the vodka comment...can soooo relate! :)

    I'm sorry to hear your mum isn't available...very sad for her Susan that she doesnt get to share one of the most profound emotional things you'll ever deal with in your life. I wonder if you reached out to her and told her how you are feeling if she'd understand.

    My mum died a year before Savannah, and while I needed for so much in the days following, I also think it would've broken her heart more if she had've been alive to watch Savvy and then deal with my heartbreak....bittersweet for sure.

    I hope your friend tries to find her mum...nothing lost nothing gained I say, and a good relationship with a parent is such a gift.

    I wish you were close enough for a hike and a coffee too...I havent met many other mums who can relate to my experience so would be precious to be able to laugh or cry or have a shot of vodka together!! :)

    sending you a hug Susan in old london town.....thanks for stopping by.
    Diana x

  9. Diana - This is a wonderful thing. I believe people come into our lives for a reason. I was just telling someone my feelings on this a few days ago. Enjoy the time you spend with her....there is a reason for it.

  10. Hi Sandy,

    I think you are right...I truly believe in fate, destiny and noticing when things or people seem to appear and you connect with them. I like to think my mum sent Rose! :)

    Sending a hug to you and thanks for your comment.

    Diana x

  11. Hi Diana, over from Kelle Hampton's blog.

    So sorry to hear about your three tragedies! I do love your outlook on life though.

    And I LOVE how Rose reached out and connected with you - she sounds like such a special person already.

  12. Hi Marcia,

    Welcome! :) I feel so blessed to have had Kelle honor my blog, so I'm thrilled you've taken the time to check it out.

    Thanks for your thoughts on my outlook...yes, sometimes its hard lessons learned that teach us whats really important in life...I know its like someone has taken my blinkers off and that realization is blinding. I treasure every day now.

    I'm lucky to have met Rose...she's in Italy at the moment but promised some more time hiking and chatting soon.

    Thanks for stopping by, shall check out your blog!
    Diana x

  13. I came over from Kelle's blog too....(I am also an Australian - live in Melbourne). I absolutely love this post. When my four children were born, we had already lost our parents on both sides, so our children didn't have any grandchildren at all. I had to have a hip replacement when my first child was only 4 months old, and the maternal nurse asked me if I would like a volunteer for a couple of hours a week to help out with the baby, and just be a friend for me. I jumped at the chance. This lady was in her mid 50's, so a similar age to what my mum would be (I was 32 at the time), and she soon became much more than a volunteer. When we moved 2 hours away, she used to come on the train and stay a few days, and it made my heart sing when we were out and about with the baby in her pram, and people assumed she was my mother, and referred to her as such. I seldom corrected them, not because my own mother could be replaced, but because it just felt so lovely to feel like I had a mum again....just a little bit. Enjoy every chance of time with Diana....we put ourselves out there, and sometimes we can be hurt, but if it works out, it's the best reward ever for our faith in human nature.

  14. That was obviously meant to read "our children didn't have any grandPARENTS at all....".

  15. Hi Julia,

    Thanks for leaving a small slice of your gave me goosebumps! I'm sorry you've lost both your parents...I can't imagine that, not having my dad here as he is.

    I'm glad you could seems there are some 'earth angels' about aren't there! So glad you too have found a surrogate mum...I find it amazing how people, strangers appear in our lives and become like family.

    When my sister died, the government in Victoria provided 2 carers for my brother in law...they were in their 50's, came into my sisters home and became family. They've never left....they have us over for Xmas and dinners and we love them like they are part of our family...a lot like your carer.

    I'm looking forward to spending more time with Rose...she's a beautiful soul.

    Thanks for stopping by, I hope you visit again...and btw, I'm very envious of you being in Melbourne...oh how I miss home and the sausage rolls from the bakery!
    with love
    Diana x