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Today I noticed: A pair of very expensive sunglasses left on the window ledge of a small coffeehouse. I kept waiting for the owner to return. The longer they sat there, the more intense my urge to quietly put them in my purse grew. I didn’t trust myself to hand them over to the baristas. Imagining getting caught in the act only distracted me for brief intervals. Luckily the friend I was conversing with never noticed my wandering attention.

Today I noticed: How I struggled to keep my opinions to myself when an acquaintance shared this story: Her 94-year-old father had been diagnosed with a large, malignant brain tumor in early January. His condition deteriorated rapidly and she had taken unpaid leave from her teaching job to stay with him and her 86-year-old mother. The two have been married more than 60 years.
Her father missed hearing the initial diagnosis because his hearing aid was not working, and he was distracted by the sudden blurred vision in his left eye. Until two weeks ago, he still exercised, walking and riding a stationary bike daily. Now his tumor makes his legs unusable. He is angry and frightened.
The opinion I had to keep to myself had to do with she and her sister’s decision to keep the diagnosis a secret from their dying father and their mother.
She was obviously uncomfortable telling me this. Perhaps someone else had recently disagreed with her – maybe her sister. She emphasized her rationale by repeating the question, “What good would it do? What good what it do?” (to tell them.)
I have never been in her position. Initially I kept quiet out of respect. Out of a slow-moving empathy I hugged her and told her she obviously knew what was best.