Day 342: Strangers

“If you’re offered hand is still open to me”

Strangers have helped me and they helped me so many times. Strangers have been generous so many times.

When Miles was young, maybe six years old, we were watching a parade in Morgantown. Morgantown has lots of parades. Miles and I would take walks and stumble upon a parade for some event– a high school homecoming, a football playoff game, a holiday celebration, or maybe the county fair’s re-opening. It was dusk in fall. We did our usual routine of a walk and some pizza at Casa d’Amici, our favorite in town. We stood outside with our big slices, watching the fire trucks go by with the lights flashing and their horns blaring. Miles started to choke. He could not breath for a few seconds. I yelled to the firetruck going by right in front of us. They did not respond. They did not hear me. They did not know what I wanted. The noise of the trucks and horns was too loud. As I yelled and waved my hands for the truck and tried to get their attention, panicking, a woman stepped from the curb. She had been standing next to us in front of the pizza shop watching the parade next to us. She walked up behind Miles and performed the Heimlich maneuver. He spat out the pizza and breathed. He was Ok. He was safe. He could breath. I was so grateful for this stranger. She saved Miles’s life.

When Miles died, people came to our house. We lay stunned on the couch or in bed or sat at the table and cried, unable to do anything. We did not know what to do. Our friends and people we worked with and people in our neighborhood attended to us. Strangers came to us and held our hands. They washed out dishes and did our laundry. They fed the dog. They made our beds. They prayed for us. They fed us and made us drink water. People came in and out, friends and strangers, and helped us.

I hope to some people I have been a generous stranger.