One of my favorite customers came into work this morning. She's a nice person, with a ready smile and an air of kindness about her. "Hi, how ya doin'?", I asked. "Not great. My husband just died.", she replied.
That caught me off guard, but I responded the best I could. There was something in her eyes. Grief, sure, but something else. I couldn't put my finger on it. We spoke for a short time about him.
His name was Steve Orlen, a UofA English professor, and poet. I didn't know his work, but I'm fond of poets in general, believing them a necessary part of civilization. They speak what the rest of us feel, but cannot voice. We're all indebted to them for that. By all accounts, he was well loved by his friends, colleagues and students.
As she was leaving, she turned to me with a smile and said, "His last words were, 'Never mind'".
After she left, it came to me what it was I saw in her eyes. She was proud of her husband. She had every right to be.