A girl in my class had her grandfather staying with her. She found that she enjoyed just passing the time with him, playing games and discussing things. She knew he was ill, and felt good about paying attention to him and providing some care.
This girl was a gifted violinist. She practiced regularly, maybe an hour and a half each night. Her grandpa loved hearing the practice, so Lauren started doing all her practices in his room. This extended their time together. There was a particularly difficult classical piece she was working on, and that was her grandfather's favorite.
Unfortunately, the illness progressed, and after a couple of months, Lauren's grandfather passed away. Lauren was devastated.
The funeral was a giant gathering--thousands of people in a local city. Lauren told me about the event.
"Connie, there were so many people there, so many. I had no idea my grandpa was so important. How did so many people know him? The cathedral was full, with standing room only. My mom said he was a really important doctor--but I had no idea."
Lauren went on to tell me about the funeral. She actually was sobbing as she told me about something that happened that completely mystified her.
"It came my turn to share something in memory of Grandpa. I chose to play the violin piece he loved so much. Well, this was really odd. You know me, Connie, I've played before a lot of audiences; I'm used to it going a certain way. I played, I finished, and then...
The silence just about killed me. It was absolutely silent. Why wouldn't these people clap? Didn't I do a good job? I thought the piece went pretty well, I mean, I was nervous and all, but the song came off as I wanted it to. Why wouldn't the people clap?
I put my violin down and started walking down the steps from where I performed. I thought I might trip over something, so I walked slowly. I felt kind of bad that no one would clap for me, it just seemed that that's how a performance should end. Slowly, I walked toward my mom. I just wanted to hide. I could hear my footsteps, they kind of echoed in that giant place. It was awful.
I got down to the final step, and then... Then I heard it. One person was clapping. Way from the back. One sole, lone person was clapping, and clapping loud. It rang out with echoes, really strong. I was so grateful that someone was doing this, but I still wondered, why only one? It was so loud.
I got back to my mom and asked her about it. Why was only one person clapping? Who was it? When I got to the seat I turned around to look, but couldn't see who it was. 'Who's clapping, mom?' I asked.
My mom turned to me, that look of bewilderment on her face. 'Lauren, there's no one clapping.' Then..." As Lauren told this part, she relaxed a bit. A tender smile appeared on her face.
"My mom's expression turned into complete astonishment. She hugged me real close. 'Lauren, now I know what you heard. That was Grandpa clapping.' That's what my mom told me. And you know, after getting through this together, Grandpa and I, I think things will be alright.