Grief is a funny thing.
It resides just below the surface of your emotions most days and then it sneaks up on you when you least expect it. This happened to me on Wednesday evening at McDonald's of all places.
It was one of those nights.
Mark wasn't going to be home for dinner.
I had a meeting after work.
I didn't get the kids picked up from the sitter's until after 5:00.
Dinner was an afterthought, so I decided to take the boys to MickeyD's.
Of course it was crowded at the dinner hour.
Of course we had to wait for our order.
Of course Ryan spilled the ketchup all over the table and seat before we even got our food.
Of course Ryan had a fit when he decided he didn't have enough nuggets.
Of course everyone had to go to the bathroom.
Some of them twice.
In the midst of all this chaos, grief kept rearing its sneaky self at me in several different ways.
First, the only table in the entire restaurant that was available for us to sit and eat was the exact same table that we had sat in the last time we ate inside.
When Mark was away for work.
And my grandmom and pop-pop treated us to dinner.
Next, there was an older gentleman sitting at the table caddy-corner to ours with his grandson.
He wore a hat on his head just like my pop-pop used to: sitting up on top making you want to grab it and push it down. :)
This same gentleman turned himself around in his seat to face me as he was getting ready to leave and looking at my boys, said,
"I give you a lot of credit."
and "I don't know how you do it."
These were both exact word for word things that my pop-pop used to say to me every time I saw him. The only obvious omission was "hon" at the end of the sentence.
I wanted to give this strange sweet man a hug.
It was always such an encouragement when my pop-pop recognized how difficult the job of mom could be sometimes. And not only that he recognized it, but told me he noticed and that he was praying for me.
So, yeah, I sat there in the restaurant and tried to eat my french fries and chicken sandwich through my tears as I remembered my pop-pop.
Later that evening, when I was getting the kids' clothes ready for the next day, I was searching through Evan's sock drawer and of all things, found an M1 grand shell from the day of my pop-pop's funeral [he'd been given a 21 gun salute and my grandmom gave each of my boys a shell to remember].
Why was this keepsake stashed in Evan's sock drawer?
Why did this stranger speak the very same words my pop-pop spoke to me?
Why was the only available table the same one we had sat in together?
I don't know.
But I do know that I needed encouragement and God provided it.