“You never know what someone else is carrying”

“What does that even mean?”

Daniel P. Donovan
2 min readOct 25, 2020
Photo by Darwin Vegher on Unsplash

“You never know what someone else is carrying.”

“What do you mean?”

Sometimes, my wife likes to open conversations with a cliffhanger.

I’m appreciative for it, and also intrigued.

She continues:

“The other day at work, a little old lady broke a bottle of vitamins on the floor.

So I go over to her and I’m like “Don’t worry about it. It’s okay. I’ll get this cleaned up. It’s no problem at all.”

And then I noticed she was getting really emotional about it. Like she couldn’t handle what was happening.

So I tell her again “Really, it’s okay. You don’t have to worry about this mess at all. We’ll take care of it. I just want to make sure you’re all right.”

And then she started BAWLING.

So now I’m standing there thinking to myself “What the heck is going on here? There’s no way this is all happening because of this bottle.”

And it wasn’t.

She looked at me and said “I’m so sorry. I just lost my daughter yesterday. I don’t even know what I’m doing with myself.”

Of course, now I’m bawling, too. But also trying to hold space for her as best I can.

I tell her I couldn’t even imagine what that must be like. Losing our own daughter is the biggest nightmare of my life. I just can’t even imagine having to go through that.

She thanked me and told me she was grateful for how I reacted. She could tell I was actually FEELING what she was going through. And I was. How couldn’t I be?

Anyway, isn’t that crazy?

You pass so many people every day and you actually have NO IDEA what they’re going through.

Someone could be carrying around the biggest trauma of their life, and you’d never see it.

And she couldn’t be more right.

You never really know what someone else is carrying, do you?

That’s why it’s so important to be kind, compassionate, and always seek to understand.

My wife does that more naturally than most.

The real question is: Do you?

Halt right there!

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