To hell and back

As I saw her in the hotel lobby and we were walking towards one another, the compassion in her eyes as she greeted me was unmistakably showing a mother's love.  She's not my mother but she has three sons and I have two; we both work for the same firm with different office locations.  From working with her on prior projects, I know as mothers we come from similar molds:  hands-on, spending time with our children, sharing our thoughts with them, expressing continually our love while also setting expectations and demonstrating ourselves as good role models.  

We greeted each other with a hug, hanging on to one another a few seconds longer than the last time we were together for business.  The greeting before was warm but it was a time prior to when I lost my son Sam so tragically.  And then so honestly, just like her character which I have come to know and respect, my business colleague asked, "How are you?" followed by, "You've been to hell and back since I last saw you."  I was in awe of her simple statement, "You've been to hell and back since I last saw you."  Just like her, her statement was genuine and true.  Her recognition of my pain, from one mother to another, although she has not seen me experiencing it personally the last five months comforted me.  So simply stated but so right she was.  Losing a child is so shattering that some days I think I may still be in hell and have not yet made it back.  I'm encouraged and thankful though that someone like her thinks that I made it back.