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?