This is Deborah Greene with her father.
10 months ago he committed suicide.
She learned about his death in the middle of a Whole Foods store.
She says she will never forget how the people in the store helped her that day.
And she just wrote an open letter to them that was printed in themighty.com
I remember you.
10 months ago my cell phone rang with news of my father’s suicide.
My brother was telling me my father was dead, that he had taken his own life early that morning and through his own sobs, I remember my brother kept saying, “I’m sorry Deborah, I’m so sorry.”
And as we hung up the phone, I started to cry and scream as my whole body trembled.
Overwhelmed with emotions, I fell to the floor, my knees buckling under the weight of what I had just learned.
And you kind strangers, you were there.
You could have kept on walking, ignoring my cries, but you didn’t.
No, instead you surrounded me as I yelled through my sobs, “My father killed himself. He killed himself. He’s dead.”
I remember in that haze of emotions, one of you asked for my phone and asked who you should call.
What was my password?
You needed my husband’s name as you searched through my contacts.
I remember I could hear your words as you tried to reach my husband for me, leaving an urgent message for him to call me.
I recall hearing you discuss among yourselves who would drive me home in my car and who would follow that person to bring them back to the store.
You didn’t even know one another, but it didn’t seem to matter. You encountered me, a stranger, in the worst moment of my life and you coalesced around me with common purpose — to help.
In my fog, I told you that I had a friend, Pam, who worked at Whole Foods and one of you went in search of her.
Thankfully, she was there that morning and you brought her to me.
She took me to the back, comforting and caring for me until my husband could get to me.
And I even recall as I sat with her, one of you sent back a gift card to Whole Foods; though you didn’t know me, you wanted to offer a little something to let me know that you would be thinking of me and holding me and my family in your thoughts and prayers.
That gift card helped to feed my family, when the idea of cooking was so far beyond my emotional reach.
I never saw you after that.
But I know this to be true: If it were not for all of you, I might have simply gotten in the car and tried to drive myself home.
I wasn’t thinking straight, if I was thinking at all.
If it were not for you, I don’t know what I would’ve done in those first raw moments of overwhelming shock, anguish and grief.
But I thank God every day I didn’t have to find out.
Your kindness, your compassion, your willingness to help a stranger in need have stayed with me until this day.
And no matter how many times my mind takes me back to that horrible life altering moment, it is not all darkness.
Because you reached out to help, you offered a ray of light in the bleakest moment I’ve ever endured.
You may not remember it.
You may not remember me.
But I will never, ever forget you.
And though you may never know it, I give thanks for your presence and humanity each and every day.
As sad as this story is, it’s also so refreshing to me how everyone jumped in to help.
I’ve always believed that down inside people are good.
And I’ve always found that when things are at their worst, it tends to bring out the best in people.
Just ask Deborah Greene