It was hard to work for the census because at times I knew I was causing others pain with the questions I was asking.
I had to deal with loss rather frequently. I can’t tell you how many times I spoke to people who lost someone close to them. I felt callous and impersonal about it sometimes. I know you told me that your dad died, but did he die before or after the census date.
I spoke to a man who lost his wife this year. He was out in the yard with his children when I pulled up. When did your wife die? Was it before or after the census date? I always felt a bit awful about it.
As I was getting ready to leave, he told me that I could turn my car around in the driveway and drive out instead of backing out. His driveway was on a hill. He said his wife left the house to go to work one icy morning and slid into a tree. He told me not to worry, she did not die in the driveway. She died after a long battle with leukemia.
I felt sad for his loss. I felt bad for his children. So I took a few extra minutes to listen. I told him I was sorry for his loss. I could tell it meant a lot to him. Sometimes people just need someone who is willing to listen.
2 thoughts on “Willing to listen”
I think you’ve made a wise observation. When I was a plumber, my boss told me our job was not just to fix the plumbing, but to be sure the customer was satisfied. In one case, someone wanted to vent about the electrician and about the last plumber. I spent more time listening than plumbing. While her drains were running free when I left, I think she was happier that someone heard her.
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That’s very insightful. You’re right, most the time people just want to be heard.