Have you ever laid eyes on someone, and felt an immediate connection?

It happened to me, at the grocery store, in the frozen waffle aisle. I saw the sweetest, little old woman. She exuded such a gentleness, and I couldn’t help but smile at her, as our carts passed. She returned the most beautiful smile, and the deep, crinkly lines that appeared, revealed she spent a lifetime smiling. She wore a pretty, flowered blouse, and had full make-up on – complete with lipstick and drawn on eye-brows.

I watched her stop to get a sample of yogurt, being given out. I heard her ask the store employee about the flavors, and when they were spouted off, the woman got so excited that her drawn on eye-brows raised even higher. At that moment, I decided that if I lived that long, I plan to be just as sweet, enthusiastic and appreciative of life.

I was tempted to approach her and tell her my thoughts. But lately I am dealing with lots of emotion and if I don’t wish to be crying around the clock, I’m keeping a tight lid on my feelings.

My Mom, my touchstone, my best friend, and the person that knows me to the depths of my soul, is suffering with dementia, and doesn’t know me anymore. There are so many things I want to tell her, and I can’t. My youngest son, is leaving for college in 2 days. This child has filled my life with such immense joy, from the time he fell from God’s lap into my arms, and I am thrilled for him. He’s getting his wings, and deserves to fly free, and to incredible heights. Still, the emotion is overwhelming, and I want my Mom.

I need my Mom.

I finished my shopping, loaded the groceries into my car, and was ready to drive away – when I saw the older woman speaking to another woman, parked next to her. I couldn’t tell whether the other woman was being helpful or not, but they were exchanging words. The other car pulled out of the parking space so quickly that she almost ran over the old woman.

I immediately got out of my car to see if the old woman was alright. She told me how rude the woman parked next to her was, and how she refused to give her time to put her groceries into her car. I told her how sorry I was, and how disappointing it is that some people are so unkind. And then I told her I noticed her in the store and, how it made my day to see someone whose sweetness reminded me of my Mom. I shared with her that my Mom had dementia. At that moment, she pulled me to her…and hugged me. I mean, she really hugged me.

The damn broke, the tears came, and still…she continued to hug me. She told me that God was taking care of my Mom, that she was safe, in her own world, and that she still loved me.

Today, I was reminded that in a sometimes bitter and hard to navigate through world, sweetness and gentleness exist…as do angels. I met a beautiful one, in the frozen, waffle aisle, and I believe I know who sent her.

Thank you, Mom. I love you.


Author of Petals and Thorns - Life Lessons from the Rose Garden and Wishes and Weeds - Gifts from the Wildflower Meadow


  1. How very beautiful Carole! My beautiful friend ??

    • caroledowhan

      Thank you, Sandy, for being such a supportive and beautiful friend…always.