Today at work I went back to our breakroom to fix myself my daily cup-o-joe. As I was leaving the room, passing the 2 public computer terminals, I heard a little voice.
"Stephanie, do you know which one of these I should pick?" I looked over and saw one of our couriers that I hadn't ever been introduced to but I knew she had been around for a while.
I looked at the monitor she was referring to and knelt down beside her to see better. She was doing her 2008 employee benefit elections and was on the life insurance section.
Immediately I figured out who she was. Julie's husband was killed about 3 weeks ago in a motorcycle accident on the coast. He was a new motorcyclist, and had hit a tree while negotiating a curve on highway 101. She was now having to change her life insurance selection from "SPOUSE ONLY NO DEPENDANT COVERAGE," to "NO SPOUSE OR DEPENDANT COVERAGE."
I put my arm around her and said quietly, "I'm so sorry. This must be so difficult." I discussed her benefit selections with her, feeling guilty for sounding like a walking human resources department in the midst of her grief. But she was so upbeat, and actually reassured me that she was doing well, thanks to the support of her coworkers.
This has been a sucky, sucky year. One husband, four mothers, four dogs, two cats, one brother. One best friend. Another who's newborn almost died. It has been the year of I'm-sorries, sympathy cards, and why-did-this-happens. We're tired of bracing ourselves.
I so quit.