An unfiltered fire hose of flaming condemnation

A must read

“The Cab Ride I’ll Never Forget” by Kent Nerburn

For the next two hours, we drove through the city. She showed me the building where she had once worked as an elevator operator. We drove through the neighborhood where she and her husband had lived when they were newlyweds. She had me pull up in front of a furniture warehouse that had once been a ballroom where she had gone dancing as a girl. Sometimes she’d ask me to slow in front of a particular building or corner and would sit staring into the darkness, saying nothing.

The last three paragraphs just about killed me. If you read only one thing this week let it be this.

Opening comments because this might spark some discussion.

(via MeFi)

  • INC

    Wow – that’s cool. Thanks for sharing. Its amazing how things seem to just click in life now and then.

  • I don’t know if I have ever read this story but it is lovely, moving and spread like wildfire. What would be more remarkable if people remember that each person we meet, more now than ever, is most likely more vulnerable than we know.

    Kindness is such a small thing yet so important.

  • damn, that stuff gets me every time. i’m sniffling covertly at my desk at work. great story. thanks.

  • samantha

    lovely. i think it’s really special that we have similar abilities with online communities to be vulnerable with each other and encourage those that are struggling or hurting.

    it’s always amazing to feel all alone in your pain and then to find, unexpectedly, that you’re in the safe arms of friends, or even loving strangers.

    thanks heather.

  • Brenda

    Oh my god, that made me cry and cry.

    And I’m pretty sure the fact that I’m all pregnant and hormonal wasn’t even the half of it.

    What a fabulous story.

  • Angie

    Heather, I love you. Thanks for bringing this around again and to so many who need to read it. I first read this a couple of years ago and it has never left my heart.
    Good Job!

  • Beautifully written. Thanks for directing our attention to it.
    As a prostate cancer patient, I can affirm that looking death in the eye changes you, as it did this nice elderly woman. And, for those who are open to it, that new degree of sensitivity can change those around us, as it did the taxi driver.
    I have written a book that chronicles some of the wonderful and some of the very funny moments I have had since cancer entered my previously-peaceful world. As a result, hundreds of readers who have allowed themselves to be touched by my story have communicated with me.
    That human connection is so rare and so much appreciated.

    Comedy Writer Jerry Perisho

  • April

    Very beautiful. Thanks for sharing the link. May we all learn to slow down and appreciate the beauty that is in simple moments.

    Excuse me now I have something in my eye…

  • Jeff

    “Unless you assume a God, the question of life’s purpose is meaningless.” – Bertrand Russell

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Anonymous

    awww… I love it.

  • Anonymous

    I am going to a funeral this wk

    My mother-in-law died of M.S. after suffering for 30yrs.
    The last of which were confined to a bed, with a breathing and feeding tube, unable to communicate.

    She was only 56.

    This will only be the second funeral I’ve attended since the death of my husband at 32.
    The long story is this is my deceased husbands, dad’s wife.
    He married her with M.S. carrying her to the chair she would sit in for their wedding.
    Now he has to lay to rest his wife, after burying a son.

    He is now faced at the age of 73 of being alone, after dedicating his life to taking care of her. He was her only living relative.

    How blessed she was to have someone so dedicated and loving that she did not live alone.

    I believe if we all have only one wish it is not to die alone.

    Although this will be hard for everyone, I am going to do my best to remain positive, not to reflect on the sadness, but to celebrate the joy we all had in our lives and how blessed we are – not to die alone.

  • Ry

    This is really wonderful. I’m so glad you shared it with us. It really is incredible how things can just line up so perfectly sometimes.

  • Brook

    Am I the only one who thinks this piece reads like fiction? I’m not knocking the sentiment. It just sounds like a short story.

  • Sherry

    Still crying, thanks for posting, been feeling really down lately about what the world is coming too, glad to know their are really great people still out there

  • Katie

    In the early stages of my aunt’s Alzheimer’s, she would often get confused or muddled while paying for something or ordering at a restaurant. When the clerks or wait staff were impatient, it would make a fragile woman feel that much worse. When they were patient and kind, we called them her angels in disguise. They had no idea how their small acts of kindness made all the difference in the world. I try to remember that every day with every person I encounter (often failing miserably). Everyone has a story.

  • Emily

    I read this just after having two conversations with different people who started hospice services for people they love today. One story is complicated, full of all the twists and turns that addiction and untreated mental illness can cause. The other is a bittersweet end to an Indian summer romance. The synchronicity of those conversations with this post has me, for the moment, slightly stunned.

    Thank you for the post. I’m sure it will give me lots of food for thought over the coming weeks and months.

  • If we took more time to pay attention to people around us, I think we could change lives more than any election ever could….

  • Anonymous

    I hate you, you made me cry at my desk.

  • How sweet.

    She deserved to have her memories revisted. She earned them.


  • Annie

    Sheesh. Thanks for making me cry at work, Heather! ;>

  • Anonymous

    Thank you!

  • Barb

    38. Joey said:
    I just got to this line: “I’m in no hurry. I’m on my way to a hospice.”
    I am going to need a tissue, aren’t I?


  • That is absolutely amazing and heart touching. I wish more people thought and acted like that in todays world. I try my hardest to everyday, because of stories like this. You just never know when you will encounter an amazing moment.

  • Tiffany

    Life offers us so much if we are open to it. Too often we are in a rush and miss things like this. Thanks for sharing Heather.

  • Anonymous

    Links like these are why I read blogs.
    I aspire to parent like this man drove that day.

  • GG

    Heather, thanks for linking to this. It comes on the heels of a conversation with my son and husband yesterday about why we need to care for one another. Why altruism matters. Why we take time for strangers.

  • Thanks Heather for the link! Made my day for sure – feel a need to write something profound, but I’ve got nothing to add to that.

  • Haley

    Beautiful, Beautiful story a very touching story and also very sad as the end of life is no matter who and no matter what the circumstances. No tears from me tough since I am one of those who thinks things happen for a reason that taxi driver was the one who received that call that night because it was something that was meant to be, that is something I am sure of! He helped a women who lived a full life get a little closure before her time was up, that is fantastic I hope everyone can have experience something so great in their lifetime! august

  • katbron

    We should all aspire to be so kind. That is our purpose. Thank you for sharing such a lovely story.

  • Thanks for this. Loved it.

  • that was beautiful. nice to be reminded that there is some kindness and humanity left in the world.

  • I started crying as soon as he said he turned off the meter.

    I think I’m that kind of person. I hope I am. And I hope I’m not alone.

    Thanks for passing this along.

  • sad yet a nice reminder of my nana – thanks for sharing.

  • Troy

    I have read this authors books. He is a very blessed man and his book Neither Wolf Nor Dog was a real eye opener for me. Nothing in this world is an accident.

  • “We’re conditioned to think that our lives revolve around great moments. But great moments often catch us unaware – beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.”

    My most important moment was holding my infant son, Brendan, as he died. It was so quiet. There was no struggling. There was no pain. And I didn’t cry then because I wanted his last moments to be those of comfort and peace and love. I hope he felt that.

    Holding him for those minutes was absolutely the most important thing I have ever done, and quite possibly is the most important thing that I ever will do. And as painful as it was I wouldn’t give those moments up for anything.

  • anne c.

    thanks for sharing this, heather. my fiance’s sister and husband run a medical and other transport service for the elderly in our area (not just med appointments, but anywhere they need to go), and i’m sending them this link. they have a marvelous time with their company and the elderly company they keep, and will like this story. … a really nice feel good story for a monday, that’s for sure.

  • Anonymous

    tears. thanks for something so real and touching in a time of such ugliness.

  • jen

    Ive read that before but it touched me more this time around. I lost my grandmother last week. The last year of her life was spent with hospice. I think about how she was before she went into the nursing home, and its almost like she stopped living when she walked (with her walker) through those doors.

  • Dan

    I thought it was an okay story with a fantastic message. However, I would have loved to have seen more detail in the story. I mean, the narrator sets it up with this notion of his cab as a confessional, then the woman remains silent throughout the cab ride only pointing out that this place is special and that place is special, but she gives no dialogue of her own to explain why these places are special or what, if any, memories she has of those old places.

    Ah well… It was nice, but it needs more.

    Sorry for being so cold.

  • Lesley

    Oof. That gave me the perspective I needed today.

  • as a pediatric icu and oncology nurse, i deal with life and death moments every day. while i know that i am often involved in some of the most difficult of all possible days in the lives of many families, its also opened me to some of the most beautiful of all human experiences–a parent helping me bathe a child, a teenage friend sitting for hours talking to their comatose friend as if nothing had changed, a grandmother wheeling an empty child-sized wheelchair to be donated to those in need after the death of her young grandson. i very much agree that “great moments often catch us unaware – beautifully wrapped in what others may consider a small one.” such moments are open for our taking, if only we make ourselves aware of their presence in our own lives.

    a beautiful story, indeed.

  • Thankyou so much for sharing this link. It was just what i needed to read this morning.. What a truly lovely and touching story =o)

  • If you like Nerburn then by all means read his books. My favorites are “Neither Wolf Nor Dog” and “Chief Joseph and The Flight of The Nez Perce”

    Kudos to Her Heatherness for covering this amazing author!

  • kendra

    oh man. 🙁

    my son just asked me, “mom, what’s wrong with your eyes?”

  • Tara

    Thank you for sharing.
    The way it made me feel brought me back to my childhood. When I was a little girl I used to cry when I saw little old ladies alone in church, at restaurants, or out shopping…
    That thread continues throughout my life as I struggle with the fear of being alone.

  • i’ve never heard of this book, but based on that paragraph, i’m hooked. thanks for sharing that…the imagery is incredible and it’s one of those things you’re just drawn into….

  • Thanks. Your post just put today’s news into perspective for me. My husband and I just lost our entire retirement fund today, but this smacked me upside the head. There are way more important things than … well, than things.

  • Rina

    Wow, very touching and beautiful. Thank you for posting this.

  • Jessica

    Great story. Thanks for sharing it with those of us who might not have found it on our own.

  • Anonymous

    I am a hospice volunteer and I’ve been teetering on the edge of quitting the work because it is getting too hard. Thanks for posting this today. It helped remind me that what I do does matter even when it feels like I’m not “doing” enough a lot of the time.

Heather B. Armstrong

Hi. I’m Heather B. Armstrong, and this used to be called mommy blogging. But then they started calling it Influencer Marketing: hashtag ad, hashtag sponsored, hashtag you know you want me to slap your product on my kid and exploit her for millions and millions of dollars. That’s how this shit works. Now? Well… sit back, buckle up, and enjoy the ride.

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