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  1. Gosh, what an awful thing to see. It must have felt so intrusive to be there, and yet so compelling too, as though by bearing witness to such a thing you are not letting her go unheeded.
    Hmmm, when I was thinking, it sounded more eloquent in my head.
    Such a lovely, thoughtful post. Thanks, Alison

  2. I had a friend die unexpectedly a couple of weeks ago. It really made me think about treasuring the people in my life more – and letting them know that I do! You're right – you can plan for tomorrow, but tomorrow isn't guaranteed – for any of us. Today is all we have, for doing and loving and being…

  3. That is sad, but then again it's always a very good and timely reminder that life is precious, we just don't know when we are going to go…

  4. A truly thoughtful post, Alison. I am sorry for the poor lady who died, her family and friends, all the shoppers who were suddenly confronted with their own mortality, and for you having experienced this. Life has a way of reminding us that we need to treasure each and every moment. It hurts when anyone dies, whether a loved one or a stranger–there's a place in all of us that is touched. Bless you, Alison!

  5. I don't know what to say, other than how terribly sad. I'm sure that moment will cross you mind so many times in years to come and will always bring you up with a jolt.
    Perhaps you could plant one of your little seedlings for her, and nurture it.

  6. It seems all the more profound happening at Easter weekend. You write with such clarity Alison that I almost feel I witnessed it myself. When events like this happen it does make us re-evaluate our lives and see just what matters most to us. Soldier on with your planting Alison….X

  7. Oh my, you have a god given talent for writing ! This is the best little post i have been reading for a long long time. I could see it all happening in front of me. And you are right, occupied with thouhts thats meaningless and instead you should have been taking care of things that really matters. I couldn`t stop thinking about that poor woman though, without her one shoe. Strange..
    Somethimes we dont take the time to think, and i mean really think. I often say to my boyfriend, listen to me, really listen to me. Or look, really look! I feel that people sometimes just exist instead of living.
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and i have to say, you made me think 🙂
    Greetings from a Norwegian girl who lives in The Netherlands

  8. Alison, I understand some of what you are feeling. I work in a trauma center, reviewing cases and keeping research data. My job can be somewhat gritty (much like what you witnessed), and I find myself "going away" sometimes, also. Losing myself in beauty (both manmade and natural), talking to God, trying to lose myself in friends and family, knowing that none of us knows when we will next see the other.
    You are doing exactly what you should with the memory of what you witnessed….you are reaffirming how special the blessing of life is. I wish you the peace and happiness that follows that acknowledgment…and thank you for reminding all of us, also.
    With love, Andrea

  9. This post reminds me why I keep reading your blog. You touched me so deeply with the picture in my head of this small lady's shoe. If only I could touch people's hearts with words as you do. I have witnessed death as a hospital worker and it always stunned me for days. Treasure today and know that your words touch so many hearts here in "blogland".

  10. Death always hits us hard, whether we are expecting it or not. We recently lost a lovely young man, a school friend of my 16 year old twins ~ a twin himself, to a sister, just like my two are brother-and-sister twins ~ who my husband and I first "met" at the parents-to-be class. He had been in remission from leukemia but it came back and no more could be done. We all knew he had only a couple more weeks left but when he finally passed away, it hit everyone like a brick. My husband and I weren't close friends with his parents but thinking about him and the family he has left behind still makes me want to weep. Life is precious, we should all make the most of our days but life has a tendency to "get in the way" and we forget how sacred it truly is until we are confronted with the reality ~ and finality ~ of death, whether that be someone close to us or a stranger whose passing we just happen to be witness to.
    (((hugs))) to you Alison

  11. What an unsettling experience. I had something similar when I saw someone get run over by a truck. You just can't stop it from entering your head. It consumes your thoughts for a while and you just have to talk it out and seek the comfort of the "normal".
    Thanks for sharing. I had been wondering if you were okay.

  12. Darling Alison,
    I wonder if you know how much your beautiful words comfort, inspire, brighten and uplift so many. Reading your posts for more than a year now, I feel you to be another of my fabulous girlfriends that I am so thankful for.
    I am so sorry my friend that you had to be witness to something so sad. I am so sorry for the lady who passed, and for the family who lost her.
    You touched my heart today, as always.

  13. It is just a breath that separates us… alive, alive… alive still… now dead. We manage best when we forget, but we manage richer when we remember, I think. I understand and send you a big hug. We don't expect to confront mortality alongside the beans and bacon, do we. Love you, sweet sister. G.

  14. Yes, these sorts of experiences do tend to prompt a lot of existential questions, and while not everyone subscribes to this view, I do think the cliche of everything happens for a reason is valid. Going further in your thinking about how that incident may be connected to things in your own current experience may help to find some peace about the whole unsettling matter. Such dramatic moments are often the greatest opportunity for understanding our lives and ourselves better, and that understanding can be very comforting in itself.

  15. Alison you are a real woman with real feelings ad that is why i love to read your blog. Gosh I could feel that I was there iwth you. I wanted to hold your hand and squeeze it tight. Poor you for coping with that alone in the middle of all those people.
    I understand that this blog lets you get off your chest your true feelings cos I feel them too.
    Keep letting all your cyber sisters up to date because we are all there with you. I have missed your more frequent posts however I appreciate just how hard it is as a single Mum.
    Have fun.Live life, laugh often , love much.
    Hugs Janey xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

  16. Reading this entry into your blog reminds me of my own similar experience. I was riding the bus home one night many years ago and while stopped in the traffic I looked down into the car next to me, which happened to be an ambulance. From the angle I was looking I could see through the privacy blinds at what was going on inside. It was two paramedics giving a very old man c.p.r., and it was magnetising to glimpse into, by sheer accidental positioning of the bus, the final (perhaps) moments of a strangers life. It was so confronting to me and so removed from me at the same time. I think about that old man and those few seconds in the traffic I spent with him often and I wonder if that will be me someday. I just realised I have never told anyone that story before….maybe it frightens me too much.

  17. I am a nurses aide in a nursing home in the states. I like my job but its very demanding and tough. I have held the hands of the dying. I am the first person to notice death, the one that cleans the body before a last minute visit from the family or before the undertaker comes to get the body. Things like finding the person's favorite sweater becomes a big deal and an issue of pride in my line of work. You don't want the families last memory to be unpleasant and even if nobody looks at that person until the funeral you can't bear to send them away without some dignity. It's not an unusual thing to feel- I think its human to want to put that woman's shoe back on. We have dignity in life and death is just another side of it.

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