I was in Pennsylvania for my uncle’s wedding. Less than a week prior I had broken up with my boyfriend, who I was nearly engaged to. I felt completely alone.
At the reception my grandfather came up to me and told me he had heard what had happened. “I’m sorry to hear that,” he said. “How are you doing?”
The muscles in my face were tensing up and my eyes were hot. “Not great.”
I expected him to give me a hug and move on since this was his son’s wedding day, but he took my arms in his and told me how his son had his heart broken by his girlfriend of four years several years back.
“He came home and all he could do was just cry. And it broke my heart, too, to see him in such pain. He was so torn up about it and there was nothing I could do to make it better.” His eyes were swelling up with tears and his voice was starting to become cloudy.
This man, who was a family member I saw once a year for holiday dinners, stood with me for fifteen minutes, hugged me, and cried with me.
—Photo Paul Stuart Iddon/Flickr