The other day, my friend Nik told me the story of a crying woman on the 4/5 train who, it became apparent as she sobbed to a friend, was on her way downtown to identify the body of a loved one who had overdosed. It seemed that she had found out the bad news that morning and looked as if she had been crying nonstop since. Her friend comforted her as far as Union Square and then left the train, reminding her that she should call him and his wife if she needed anything.
The woman continued to sob alone until another woman excused herself from the mass of other passengers the train and asked if she could pray with the crying woman. They bowed heads and quietly murmured healing words to one another until other people from other parts of the train car came to rub her back, lay a hand on her shoulder, and whisper encouragement.