“Exit strategy”

I wandered into work yesterday after a couple of days NOT in at work.  I forced myself to get up and out of bed and had an inkling of the sort of clothing I wanted to wear and had my wakeup-Princess strategy in play.  The morning went smoothly, as did the trip in.  I caught up with my boss.

And then I went and caught up with a team member.  Now this woman is around my age, and a transplanted Canadian.  She is from the East Coast and moved to Australia following a man.  The relationship didnt work.  She lives alone and has no children.

And out of nowhere yesterday came the statement that she had no intention of living past 65 and had an “exit strategy” all worked out.    She told me simply and clearly it takes all her strength to get up each day and come into work.  By weekend she has nothing let.  She has no friends, no life because she has nothing left.

I think I stopped breathing.  My eyes locked on hers and I listened with every cell of my being.  I reached out and held her hand as she talked.

I know I have my ups and downs, but I know within myself that everything changes and as human beings we adapt and have a remarkable capacity to continue.  Despite. In spite.

Quietly I told her she was not alone.  That there is nothing she could ever say to me that would shock me.  That she can call me to talk about anything or everything at any time of the day or night.  I made sure she realised she would not burden or break me, that I am like a straw.  I am not the strength she can lean on but that strength is there.  I am merely the conduit.  She could being her heart and mind to me and lean, and share, and there would be just more.

By this time tears were just running down her cheeks.  Luckily it was early ( because I start work early) before the crush collected us both and flung us into goals and productivity.

I immediately sent her a meeting request for a weekly Monday afternoon catch up ( off site).

How can I best be there for her?  What do I need to know to make a small difference?

I know I can’t heal her, or “fix” her.  But I have let her know that I am there for her, and will be. I believe if it comes to me and I see it, there is a reason.  And life is so precious.

Any ideas or suggestions?


7 comments on ““Exit strategy”

  1. Struck me as sad as well, Joan.

  2. How sad. You gave her the best gift though – friendship and something to look forward to.

  3. She has aged friends she has left in Canada, and I suspect her “exit” is linked to losing them, as they are becoming frail. I cre and accept her feelings as valid. I will listen.

  4. It sounds like she needs a friend, someone who cares and I know she has found that in you. It sounds like she feels very alone, and probably the best thing you can do is exactly what you are doing- letting her know that she matters, that you care and are willing to listen.


  5. Me too girls. I cried too. Her trears fell down my face and we surreptitiously wiped them away. I intend to “involve ” her as much as I can; always an open door and an assurance I am always here and open and that I accept and understand. I, too, sometimes have walked the edge of dark emptiness, but made my own peace some long time ago. I, too, have a zoo of loved ones near and around. I will not let her down. I saw thia, she opened this window to me because I can somehow assist. And I will.

  6. I agree-I think she needs to know there is something other than work to get up for. And that doesn’t have to be a man, that could be a friend, a hobby…anything to keep her going.
    Sometimes that feeling of being a lost soul in the big wide world is scary and losing hope at that point isn’t good, but having friends who remind you about the bigger picture is.

    Your post made me cry…I’ve got family and friends around me and sometimes feel so alone and tired of everything that I think “what’s the point”…but that support network is always there cheering me on and giving me the energy to keep going on and to never losing hope,I couldn’t imagine what I’d be thinking had I been alone.

    Thinking of her…incognito x

  7. in my last entry I wrote about a young girl who stayed with me, together with her 2 1/2 yr. old son, for a couple of days because she, too, was so depressed and down, she desperately needed someone to be there, to listen, to comfort. I hope so much I could be a substitute mom for her (she’s my daughter’s age and her mom died of MS when she was a teenager).

    Your friend needs just that, a friend, someone to talk to, someone who understands, someone who can ensure her that she’s not alone. It’s good that she found YOU! I know you will be there for her.

    As a displaced person now living single and not with the man who brought me here, I can understand her as well, escept for the fact that I have children. I just turned 61 and plan to get involved in stuff after I don’t work anymore. SHE must NOW start getting involved in something… community work, hobbies, anything! Life can be so good but you can’t just sit around and wait for it to happen, sometimes you need to take some steps yourself.

    Oooops, sorry for the novel *wink*

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