Thriftshop Healing

thriftshop healing

I have developed a new obsession with silk pajamas, having bought a beautiful pair for $6.99 at Goodwill. Now, I have to look for more, because that’s what happens when you have a shopping disorder.

Today, I was patiently searching a rack at a gigantic thriftshop called Savers, when a woman standing next to me started to cry. I had noticed her earlier, registering that she was very short and looked disadvantaged somehow.

She looked at me and said through her tears, “My brother was killed in Vietnam.”

I tried to compute this, thinking, But that was a million years ago. I managed to say, “Oh no, what year did this happen?”

What a stupid question! I think I was trying to catch her in a lie. Still, she tried to remember. Sixty-something.

I then said, with all my heart, “I’m so sorry. It never gets better, does it?”

She agreed and we started to talk. I asked her brother’s name (Ricky) and showed her my locket where I keep Max’s hair.

She told me she had taken care of her mother for six years and said: “She died in my arms.”

I asked about her kids: One has stage 3 liver cancer and another needs therapy but her insurance won’t cover it.

We talked about how some days are worse and some are better. She confided that she goes to thrift-shops to distract herself from her sadness…I think she said something like, “so I don’t get depression.” I assured her that I do the same.

I told her to remember that she is loved and needed. She asked Max’s name so she could pray for him.

Wherever you go, a person standing next to you may be suffering, and isolated in the bubble of their grief. The act of comforting someone is more gratifying than a million pairs of silk pj’s.  Alleviating someone else’s pain is the best way to soothe your own.

For a little while, because of this encounter, I felt like a valuable human being. I didn’t find any pajamas but I did find a silk nightie for $2.99.



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15 Responses to Thriftshop Healing

  1. betty says:

    A poem.
    Thank you.

  2. Hope(Australia) says:

    As I grow older I notice i prefer to talk to strangers than acquaintances.Few days ago I met women on the tram ,we end up talking and she was going for the job interview and hoping to get any work in near future. Sometimes I wonder how did she go.
    I am glad you spoke to that lady.

  3. Connie* says:

    My Dear Sister Wolf, You are the sweetest most adorable little wolf girl. Everytime you post something it just makes my day.

  4. Romeo says:

    This morning across from the dog park an old lady was yelling at her dog that had gotten loose. It’s basically a trailer park over there so there were plenty of people around and I seen three dog walkers pass her by without lending a hand. She seemed like an awful shouty person and I felt bad for her dog but then it seemed shitty to me that nobody was helping her. So I helped her get her dog back in custody.

    Anyway, I’m deep in Trump territory where things like civic duty and family values are supposed to mean something, or maybe they used to mean something but now it’s all just do for yourself and stay out of everyone’s business. And there’s a virtue to that, sure, but when an old lady needs help you’re supposed to help her. Or maybe the people here are just shitty and their support for Trump is more coincidental than correlative.

  5. Romeo says:

    Also I used to wear silk boxers and they felt great but they were too slippery and shifted around in weird ways and I always felt like I should be wearing something to keep the nice silk safe from touching my gross dirty bits.

  6. Dana says:

    Yet more genius! Therapy, retail therapy, self care and selflessness

  7. Gloria says:

    I think you are a wonderful person. This post touched my heart today, and I hope the message of it will stay with me, as I encounter the world at large. I enjoy your writing, and look forward to your posts. I find you to be real, honest, and refreshing.

  8. thrift store lawyer says:

    A perfect post. That is all.

  9. michele says:

    lovely post…. no it doesn’t get better. You’re a good person – hope to meet you one day for a bottle of wine,

  10. Sister Wolf says:

    betty – thank YOU!

    Hope – Connecting with another human being = hope

    Connie – How nice of you!!!!!!!!!!!!!! xoxo

  11. Sister Wolf says:

    Romeo – This is why I love you and respect you so much. I wish I could wrap you in silk!

  12. Sister Wolf says:

    Dana – Not selfless! I felt so worthwhile for a change…it was a win-win.

  13. Sister Wolf says:

    Gloria _ wow, thank you so much! xo

    thrift store lawyer – I thought of you when I typed my title!

    michele – I’ll bring the cheese and crackers! xo

  14. Bevitron says:

    Your kindness to that lady and your genuine concern, always, are balm to us all, Sister Wolf. Especially now. And deep forest green is my very favorite color.

  15. Dj says:

    A kind gesture can go a long way…I was in a Starbucks in London one day, sitting at a little table next to a young black woman. She was on her phone, trying to make an appt. with a lawyer. I think it had to do with child custody. She actually had a list of lawyers she was checking off. She got more and more anxious and frustrated with each call. I got up, got a fresh cup of coffee and a croissant and took it over to her. She was in shock! She burst into tears and I had to calm her down. I told her to get a female attorney who could be tough. She was so heartened by this and I felt so gratified to have made her day a little easier.

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