I'm quite used to hearing that sentence: It's amazing how many people smile at you or comment when you have a baby with you. I never realised this before I had children. A lot of people love babies and will start a conversation with you, especially when your baby is carried in a sling. I've always been introverted and never at ease talking to strangers but I've always experienced this as something positive. And sometimes hilarious: A woman once compared Aidan to the Virgin Mary, maybe referring to the blue sling I carried him in (I think Mary is often depicted wearing a blue cloak). It was very odd.
But coming back to this day in the supermarket. I turned around and saw a pleasant looking old man coming towards me. He asked Enda's name and how old he was and after I had answered he turned to go on with his shopping. But then he hesitated and came back to me. "I'm David," he introduced himself. "From Kerry, originally, but I've lived here for many years. One day in 2005 I woke up one morning to find my lovely wife lying dead next to me in the bed."
"I'm so sorry to hear that", I said.
"I've known her since she was 15. She was tiny, but always elegant. You know, sometimes the world doesn't matter!" He said all this with a smile and quite pleasantly. And with a final "God bless you " he. turned and went.
I don't know why he told me this - he wasn't looking for pity - but I like to think that it's his way of keeping his wife's memory alive.
It was just a chance encounter in the supermarket but I won't forget it for a while.