I met another mom today.

I met another mom today. She’s four months into her hell of living life after losing her daughter. Four months can still easily be broken into weeks; sixteen weeks to be exact. It’s early days for her in this new hollow place. It’s still so raw and fresh for her. I’d met her for a work reason and for the better part of an hour we’d discussed the point at hand. And then at the end of our business meeting, she looked into my eyes, took a deep breath and stammered out a warning, that she could be… distant or distracted sometimes and it was for a reason – the death of her daughter. It was the last thing I expected her to say, but once she did, it made so much sense. Her eyes rimmed with tears, suddenly paired with the emptiness I’d not recognised before now. A kindred spirit. The first one I’ve met in a day to day setting, one outside of people coming out because they’ve read my blog, or know my mom, or know my story via Twitter, etc. It was the first time I was on the receiving end of that awkward moment where you’re not sure whether you should open up to that stranger or not. The leap of faith it takes to trust someone with your vulnerability like that, it’s a huge leap, one I couldn’t make for at least a year after Kiera’s death. Maybe even longer if I’m honest.

I wanted to reach across the table and hold her hand, hug her. But I don’t know this woman. We were in a room full of business orientated people, it wouldn’t have been appropriate. But when we swapped our horror stories, I could see the relief in her eyes. The relief that she’d gotten through the conversation without crying, even though I heard the briefest wobble as she was rushing through her words to get the shortened version of the story out.

Because, as I said to her, it never gets better but it does get easier. And for the first time in a long time, she made me feel real empathy and sadness for someone else that I know very little about. I hope that she knows it won’t always be this hard, this raw, this heart wrenching.

I wish I’d hugged her. She needed it. And now I realise, I needed it too.

Next time I see her, I’m going to hug her.