If you know me, you know you wouldn’t ever catch me crying. Not during a sad movie, not at funerals, and certainly not at airports over lost luggage or canceled flights.

This was not the case in the San Francisco airport as I waited for my delayed flight. I sat down at a counter to grab a quick bite not knowing the next time I would be able to do so. The seat next to me was vacant until a woman sat down, ordered a glass of wine – and stated that she was celebrating.

That was an opening I gladly jumped through. She declared that her 27-year-old son was released from Stanford Hospital earlier that day following a successful double lung transplant. She was heading back home a week earlier than expected because her son’s recovery went better than the doctors anticipated. Her plan was to surprise her family by sneaking in and having breakfast ready when they awoke. Do so meant that she would (gratefully) be awake for over 24 hours.

Her face was worn from all the motherly duties of caring for a child who had suffered from lung issues since birth. The doctors had said he wouldn’t live a year…this mother helped her son defy the odds and administered 14 lung treatments each day for years and years.

Her strong demeanor was happily conflicted as her constant presence was no longer needed. Her son was required to stay close to Stanford for the next six months and would not be returning to his always-sanitized childhood home.

After sharing more intense details of their journey together I interjected who I was and that I was grateful a funeral professional’s services were not needed in these last few precarious weeks. I then talked about the need to Have the Talk of a Lifetime. I gave her a packet that included the BeRemembered.com website so that her family could immortalize this journey. She was grateful and gave me her business card and shared with me that she works for an elderly care service. She let me know she planned to share this newfound information with those she cared for, and would indeed document her own life story and encourage her son and family to do the same.

As we said our good-byes in the middle of the busy concourse, I offered how awed and honored I was that she had shared such intimate details with me. We left with a hug, good wishes for safe travels and healthy families, and indeed, tears.

Kathy Wisnefski
Executive Director
Funeral Service Foundation