Note: This article contains coarse language that may offend some readers.
Laura Mazza describes herself as the kind of person who will talk to anyone. And after a recent trip to the doctor, she decided to strike up a conversation with the woman sitting next to her at lunch.
After going to the doctors I remembered I hadn't eaten for a while so I sat in the food court and decided to eat lunch….
We started talking and we both confessed to being people who just talk to anyone. That we both think friendliness is missing in the world. We talked about how there isn’t manners and we are always quick to say sorry or excuse me and we are the ones where people look at us weird because we are so chatty. She told me to never change who I am even if I feel disheartened.
As they spoke, Mazza’s new friend, Lee, opened up about her life and her struggles. Then Mazza learned that Lee’s husband had committed suicide about 20 years earlier.
Mazza wrote that her “heart sunk” as she listened to Lee talk about that day:
She told me she didn’t know why he did it, but just on the day they fought, and ignored each other.
Even more heartbreaking was the fact that Lee lost her husband on their anniversary:
On the day of their anniversary, he left a note saying, “Sorry I wasn’t good enough, sorry I was an asshole … sorry…”
Lee told Mazza that it took time to work through the guilt and sorrow that followed his death:
She went through stages of blaming herself. Stages of anger, stages of grief, but all of it, she just missed him so badly.
As Lee looked for comfort, she would do things that made her feel like her husband was still with her. She told Mazza:
For a long time after I would smell things to let me know he was around, like flowers from the funeral, the smell of blown out candles. Like letting me know he knows I burn them in his memory. That gave me a lot of comfort and happiness knowing he was around me.
And to this day, Lee talks about her husband with pride. She even shared photos of him with Mazza, who wrote:
She called him her soulmate. She said life went so fast when he was around, but after he left, time stood still.
Then Lee told Mazza what she wished other women would understand about the men in their lives:
She said, “Men have it hard. They’re told from a young age to suck it up. They’re told to provide for their women, and give them everything and that they’re not good enough if they don’t. They feel the pressure for everything but can’t ever talk about how they feel because they’re meant to be ‘strong.'”
Lee also had some advice about easing that burden:
She said, “Talk to your husband, talk to him. Never stop talking. Make him talk. Go on dates, have time together. Get people to help you, but make sure he talks.”
The woman who can no longer have those talks with her husband begged other wives to take the time to listen before it’s too late:
“Never stop talking because you never know when it’ll be your last conversation or how much the conversation is needed.”
Mazza now believes that the universe brought the two of them together that day. Talking to Lee was a reminder of how powerful a conversation can be. She wrote:
“No matter how hard it is, or how angry we feel, how tired how frustrated how lonely, the best thing we can do, is use our voices and listen (even if it’s to a stranger).”