Kathy had just the right approach to Paige.
Paige had shared the news about her Mum’s passing with the team.
She was subdued as she made the short announcement. It instantly seemed to take the air out of the room. Any joviality that was in the room evaporated to be replaced with the distinctly sombre feeling. No one said a word for what felt like an age. The team leader eventually told them to return to work and just be aware of what the situation was for Paige and try not to let it affect them.
Carol, though, was typically busy. Not so much spending time with Paige, she made a half-hearted effort at sharing sympathy with her, but was soon at it with her usual crew. Talking about how she felt she saw Paige not looking well and how it was probably for the best that the death happenned to put her out of her misery. She used that as the plarform to go off on a mini-rant about why there wasn’t more done to support Paige as well as concern for the effect Paige was having on the rest of the team.
Liz tearfully went to Paige to offer her condolences and proceeded to talk at her sharing how it reminded her of when her own Mum died. She went on presuming to know how Paige must have felt and how terrible and awful she must feel before referring back to her own experiences and some of the bad things that happened to her, hoping it wouldn’t happen to Paige. Poor Paige was bombarded by others like Liz who were quick to talk and not as quick to genuinely listen to Paige.
Kathy had noticed the number of people who had hardly given the woman a moment’s peace. She only asked if Paige wanted a cup of tea, an offer gratefully accepted by the shell-shocked woman. Kathy kept her distance and just watched to see how things went throughout the day. The people who went up to Paige dwindled and eventually she was able to get some work done.
When she went for her afternoon break, Kathy caught up with her and just asked her if she wanted anything. Paige looked into her eyes and breathed a sigh of relief and hugged Kathy. They held each other without sound for a few moments. When Paige moved away she smiled and thanked her. And that was it.
Someone had bothered to understand first rather than offer cheap sentiments or presume to know. That and a decent cup of tea.
For His Name’s Sake
C. L. J. Dryden