Today I donned the jolly mans red suit for the last time of this holiday season.
It wasn't near as busy as what I expected especially so close to Christmas.
I mean there were adults there but hardly any kids at all.
About an hour into my gig, a lady pushing a cart started walking by in front of me.
I wished her a Merry Christmas and it was at this time I noticed that she was trying to talk but was also fighting back tears and emotions.
She was finally able to tell me that her 28 year old son had very recently passed away while serving our country in the military.
She continued by telling me that everyone kept telling her to get out of her house and get out into the public and that is what brought her to this store.
I was completely caught off guard by what she told me and I told her how sorry I was to hear about the death of her son and gave her my condolences.
Before heading into the store further, this woman asked me to make sure that her son received a gift up in heaven tonight.
She made this request to me a couple of times and because of the situation and what she was going through, I promised her that I would make sure that her son would get a special gift from me, Santa, up in heaven.
Although I knew full well that I could not physically complete my promise to her, I knew that I could fulfill my promise by saying a prayer tonight for this lady and for her recently deceased son.
After we had our brief conversation, I found it rather hard to portray the happy face of Santa to kids that are still very innocent and still believe in such things as a jolly old man dressed all in red and white. Young kids whose reality is based upon their innocents and beliefs compared to an adults reality that is based on much different feelings....an adults reality that is based on sometimes rather cold hard facts of life that must be dealt with...like the loss of a son.
And it wasn't just what this one woman was going through that weighed on my mind but all of the other senseless tragedies that have occurred recently and most especially the recent loss of children's lives. Children whose most likely biggest worry in life was if they were going to get all they had asked for for Christmas or maybe all that they asked Santa to bring to their Moms and Dads.
After this lady had left my area for a while, I decided to walk the store to see if I could locate her and to see if she could use someone to talk to.
I noticed that she was at the jewelery counter but there were several other customers standing right next to her too.
Because I did not want to impose upon her and especially since there were numerous customers in her immediate vicinity, I decided to hold off on contacting her at that moment.
A short while later I was wrapping up my time as being Santa and I headed into the back offices to change into my street clothes.
After changing my clothes I grabbed my gym bag and headed out onto the sales floor in an attempt to locate this woman.
Unfortunately she was gone.
I left the store feeling somewhat empty and as if my purpose for the day had not been completed.
I felt that there must have been a reason for this lady to happen into this particular store while I was doing my Santa gig and us sharing those few moments together.
So tonight I will keep my promise that I made to this woman...in the best way that I can.....and say a prayer for her and her recently lost son. I will also say a prayer for all of those other parents who had their children taken away from them way before their time and all of those innocent kids who were still young enough and innocent enough to believe in something.
There are days when I feel that all of us could use something to believe in.
I can tell you this much...there have been days recently when all a person can do is walk around and ask why?...a simple one word question with so few answers. Those are the days when a person needs to find something to believe in the most....on those days when all you seem to do is ask WHY? and no logical answer exists or comes to you.