Every day I am at work I get a very intimate view into someone’s life.

The tears welling in another’s eyes always ignite something in me, (empathy, is it called?) and I experience the emotions as well.

Loneliness is a familiar one.

A mom of four sits in a dimly lit room, filled with the stench of stale air, her head hung as she mourns the loss of her previous life and longs for what used to be. I kneel next to her hospital bed, and offer my hand on her lap.

I understand, I pat. Or at least I will.

When it’s my time.

“They brought things from home today.” She points to old pictures on her wall, one an image of her husband’s grave. Her smile, recognizable by her crooked teeth, beams beneath a bridal veil. Four kids all fit in her arms, on her lap.

What was your husband like?

She tells me her most fond memories, laughing at his old jokes.

The joy of her previous life pushes it’s way into her stories, and I realize she misses my life, this time in my life. She recounts her early years of marriage, raising small kids, starting their life on the farm.

Everyone says to enjoy this stage because it goes by so quickly.

I think they are really saying, “I miss it.”

It is a really good time, and I am reminded daily that it slips by until the only way we can experience the same joy again is through the sadness of missing it.