This made me cry...

A Sandpiper to Bring You Joy
Several years ago, a neighbor related to me an experience that happened to her one winter on a beach in Washington State. The incident stuck in my mind and I took note of what she said. Later, at a writers’ conference, the conversation came back to me and I felt I had to set it down. Here is her story, as haunting to me now as when I first heard it:
She was six years old when I first met her on the beach near where I live. I drive to this beach, a distance of three or four miles, whenever the world begins to close in on me.
She was building a sand castle or something and looked up, her eyes as blue as the sea.
“Hello,” she said. I answered with a nod, not really in the mood to bother with a small child.
“I’m building,” she said.
“I see that. What is it?” I asked, not caring.
“Oh, I don’t know. I just like the feel of the sand.”
That sounds good, I thought, and slipped off my shoes. A sandpiper glided by.
“That’s a joy,” the child said.
“It’s what?”
“It’s a joy. My mama says sandpipers come to bring us joy.”
The bird went glissading down the beach. “Good-bye, joy,” I muttered to myself, “hello pain,” and turned to walk on. I was depressed; my life seemed completely out of balance.
“What’s your name?” She wouldn’t give up.
“Ruth,” I answered. “I’m Ruth Peterson.”
“Mine’s Windy” It sounded like Windy. “And I’m six.”
“Hi, Windy.”
She giggled. “You’re funny,” she said. In spite of my gloom I laughed too and walked on.
Her musical giggle followed me. “Come again, Mrs. P,” she called. “We’ll have another happy day.”
The days and weeks that followed belonged to others; a group of unruly Boy Scouts, PTA meetings, an ailing mother.
The sun was shining one morning as I took my hands out of the dishwater. “I need a sandpiper,” I said to myself, gathering up my coat.
The never-changing balm of the seashore awaited me. The breeze was chilly, but I strode along, trying to recapture the serenity I needed. I had forgotten the child and was startled when she appeared.
“Hello, Mrs. P,” she said. “Do you want to play?”
“What did you have in mind?” I asked, with a twinge of annoyance.
“I don’t know. You say.”
“How about charades?” I asked sarcastically.
The tinkling laughter burst forth again. “I don’t know what that is.”
“Then let’s just walk” Looking at her, I noticed the delicate fairness of her face.
“Where do you live?” I asked.
“Over there.” She pointed toward a row of summer cottages. Strange, I thought, in winter.
“Where do you go to school?”
“I don’t go to school. Mommy says we’re on vacation.”
She chattered little-girl talk as we strolled up the beach, but my mind was on other things. When I left for home, Windy said it had been a happy day. Feeling surprisingly better, I smiled at her and agreed.
Three weeks later, I rushed to my beach in a state of near panic. I was in no mood even to greet Windy. I thought I saw her mother on the porch and felt like demanding she keep her child at home.
“Look, if you don’t mind,” I’d rather be alone today. She seemed unusually pale and out of breath.
“Why?” she asked.
I turned on her and shouted, “Because my mother died!” - and thought, my God, why was I saying this to a little child?
“Oh” she said quietly, “then this is a bad day.”
Yes, and yesterday and the day before that and - oh, go away!"
“Did it hurt?”
“Did what hurt?” I was exasperated with her, with myself.
“When she died?”
“Of course it hurt!” I snapped, misunderstanding, wrapped up in myself. I strode off.
A month or so after that, when I next went to the beach, she wasn’t there. Feeling guilty, ashamed and admitting to myself I missed her, I went up to the cottage after my walk and knocked at the door. A drawn-looking young woman with honey-colored hair opened the door.
“Hello,” I said. “I’m Ruth Peterson. I missed your little girl today and wondered where she was.”
“Oh yes, Mrs. Peterson, please come in.”
“Wendy talked of you so much. I’m afraid I allowed her to bother you. If she was a nuisance, please accept my apologies.”
“Not at all - she’s a delightful child,” I said, suddenly realizing that I meant it. “Where is she?”
“Wendy died last week, Mrs. Peterson. She had leukemia. Maybe she didn’t tell you.”
Struck dumb, I groped for a chair. My breath caught.
“She loved this beach; so when she asked to come, we couldn’t say no. She seemed so much better here and had a lot of what she called happy days. But the last few weeks she declined rapidly. . .” Her voice faltered. “She left something for you. . . if only I can find it. Could you wait a moment while I look?”
I nodded stupidly, my mind racing for something, anything, to say to this lovely young woman.
She handed me a smeared envelope, with Mrs. P. printed in bold, childish letters.
Inside was a drawing in bright crayon hues - a yellow beach, a blue sea, a brown bird. Underneath was carefully printed:
A Sandpiper To Bring You Joy
Tears welled up in my eyes, and a heart that had almost forgotten how to love opened wide. I took Wendy’s mother in my arms. “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m so sorry,” I muttered over and over, and we wept together.
The precious little picture is framed now and hangs in my study. Six words - one for each year of her life - that speak to me of inner harmony, courage, undemanding love. A gift from a child with sea-blue eyes and hair the color of sand - who taught me the gift of love.
By Mary Sherman Hilbert
from A 3rd Serving of Chicken Soup for the Soul
Copyright 1996 by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen

Dying kids will get me everytime.

Peace on Earth = Purity Of Essence

now I am bawling at work…serves me right, I shouldnt have read it.

That is so sad. I’m crying like a baby sitting here in my cube.

All of those Chicken Soup for the ______ soul are great books. I read Chicken Soup for the Pet Lovers Soul and it was great. Even the story about the little boy and his pet snake made me cry- and I hate snakes.

I knew two girls in high school, I’ll call Vickie and Lynn. We graduated in 1967.
Vickie was a real (literal!) beauty queen. Still is, too. Lynn repelled me–when I was in high school I avoided kids–girls especially–who smoked. But that’s not what made me break down.
About 15 years later I delived Amway stuff to Vickie’s parents. They told me Lynn was working at a local aerospace company, supporting herself and a child.
“Failed marriage,” I commented.
“No,” they said. It turned out her husband was a taxi driver–and had been shot dead driving a customer into a city with a real crime problem.
When I left, I said, “Say hello to Vickie for me, and–” I think tears were welling up in my eyes as I said this–“tell Lynn I’m really sorry!” I left; and as I got to the car I broke down–and cried for ten minutes. :frowning: :frowning:

GeneralRipper– thank you for taking the time to type that in and share it with us. I was feeling pretty damn bitchy today because I’m having problems in my life but now, I don’t think my problems are all that bad. I’m alive. I’m healthy. I have a wonderful family and good friends. I’d say I’ve got it easy…

Here’s a few to make you feel good in case you cried, they may even make you cry again and probably think:

Once a waitress at a diner noticed a little 6 year old boy come in and have a seat at the nearest booth. He smiled up at her as she approached and she sighed, thinking this little boy was playing “lets be grownup.”
He spoke first “How much for a chocolate sundae?”
The woman said “50 cents”
The little boy reached in his pocket and carefully counted his change. He looked up again.
“How about a dish of ice cream?”
The woman rolled her eyes “30 cents”
He nodded and said “One dish of plain ice cream please”
The woman took the order and got the dish of ice cream. She left the check with the little boy as he happily dug in.
After he was done he got up, went and paid his check and left.
The woman went to clear the table and stopped, a lump in her throat. There, under the small dish of ice cream, were 2 shiny dimes…her tip.
Ok now the other (this one gets me):

Once upon a time there was a sick daughter of a family of four. She was the oldest of the two children with a young brother of 5. Now the daughter was sick with a rare blood disease and she was in a worst way. Luckily, the doctors, through extensive tests, found that her little brother held the key to her recovery. All it would take would be a simple transfusion of his blood to hers. The boy, being a small child, was of course a little frightened of needles so the doctor sat him down and explained that if he gave his blood, his sister would survive. The boy swallowed and said quietly
“Well ok…if it will save Ruth.”
So they sat the boy down in the bed next to his sister and prepared the transfusion. He bravely held a cry of pain as they inserted the needle and began to draw his blood.
As the blood began to flow, the boy looked up at the doctor and asked
“Will I begin to die soon?”
The doctor realized that the little boy believed he had to give all his blood in order to save his sister.

Okay, no more or I’m just gonna go all soft and mushy and not be able to fight with Brithael any more!

Damn my marshmallow heart!

Ohh, man. You guys suck. ::sniffle::

Veni, Vidi, Visa … I came, I saw, I bought.

ChrisCTP– we don’t suck, we inhale deeply! :0

This reminds me of a funny quote that I made up…

“A real man can cry. But it has to be about sports.”

Yer pal,