I saw him sitting on a rock in the dust with his face in his hands, trying to stifle the sounds behind them. He’s a grown man in a muscle shirt and leather cowboy hat. His shoulders were shuddering. He was crying. Bawling, really. He wasn’t the only one.

Looking around me, outside the ornate building, I began to take in more of the people gathered here. Some were in small groups and others alone. They were mostly quiet and somber. A few were holding their heads in their hands, as if the sorrow or grief weighing them down made it difficult to support otherwise. Leather hat man fell into that category. Others were just silent and contemplative.

I don’t know what any of them were going through. I hadn’t yet experienced anything in my short life that would leave me in this sort of state. But I felt it. It was impossible not to.

Ironically, happy music blared in the distance. Yet this place, this still and spiritual place, existed as if cocooned in a bubble—a force field protecting the emotion escaping those inside it.

I stood and watched the man in the hat, frozen and unsure if there was anything I could do. What do you do when you come across someone clearly mourning and in pain, when the sounds and expression seem so powerful it’s almost alarming?

While I was lost getting the nerve to do something, a woman walked up next to him and put her hand on his shoulder. A second later his head was against hers and she helped support his weight and held his grief. It’s as if his body was waiting for it. In my heart I knew it was needing it. The violent termors of his body released into a heavier sway as he surrendered into the arms of the woman, his sobbing slowly subsiding.

I breathed a sigh of relief and prayed for comfort.