Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Gratitude




When we do the best that we can, we never really know what miracle is wrought in our life, or in the life of another.



--Helen Keller


It would be safe to say that in the first few weeks after HOB’s (Husband of Betty) sudden departure from our marriage, I was not in any condition to fully participate in life. What I really wanted to do was to curl up in a ball and retreat from the world.


However, the world had other ideas.



Some of you might recall that just after HOB left, the pipe in the bathroom wall leaked, and did a lot of damage to the house. Besides dealing with that, I had to get a new bank account and try to maneuver in all things financial on my own.

It was all pretty overwhelming to this woman whose life had been shattered in an instant. I walked around in a dazed state. I couldn’t speak right. I couldn’t see straight. I had to use the GPS in my car just to make sure I got to the job I had been going to for twenty years.

I had never filed an insurance claim in my life, but one of my friends told me to call the insurance company and tell them about the leak and water damage. I was shaking and weak as I dialed the number and explained the situation. The woman on the line told me a claims representative would call me. Based on what HOB had told me of another claim he had made in the past, I did not hold out much hope that the company would be able to help me.

Then, Brieanna, claims representative extraordinaire, contacted me.



From her first phone call with me, she was kind, considerate, professional and warm. I told her I had never filed a claim before and she walked me through all the steps. She told me who to call, what to say, and gave me her contact information. She kept in touch throughout the entire process.



One day, she caught me when I was feeling down and scared. My voice cracked and I started to cry as I asked question after question. I finally told her why I was alone in the house, why I was placing the claim, and why I was asking so many questions. Her voice was steady, calm, and empathic as she assured me she understood.



She may never know just how much her reassurance and warm personality made a difference on that day. I drove to work a little less stressed, a little more at ease than I had been for a long time.


About a week after he left, HOB decided it was time to close our joint bank account, and so we went to our credit union and he sat with me at the desk of Tina, an accounts manager there. I was shell-shocked and did not want to close the account that HOB and I had shared for so many years. However, he was insistent that we start separating our assets.



I just sat, like a small child, and let HOB tell Tina that I would need a new, separate account in my name only. I watched her as she gathered the necessary papers, and worked at the computer. Just a few weeks prior, I had sat at her desk with Evan, arranging his college account and talking cheerfully about her upcoming wedding. I saw the wedding rings on her hand, but could not trust myself to ask her anything about her big day.



Instead, I sat trying to comprehend what was happening. This act of separating accounts was surreal to me. I still couldn’t completely understand it. For thirty years we had shared this account. It was familiar. It was secure. It signified that we were in this life together. I still wanted to share it, but HOB was ready separate the funds and move on with his new life.

I sat and tried to answer the questions Tina asked. She worked efficiently and professionally. What I appreciated was that even though she probably knew exactly what was going on, she kept up her professional, but kind demeanor. Best of all, she directed all her questions to me, even though, out of habit, I occasionally looked to HOB to answer some of them.

My hand was shaking as I signed paper after paper. I tried hard not to cry as I saw the joint share holder line crossed out time and time again on all the forms. Because of my mental state at the time, I could have easily fallen apart. One word spoken too softly, one misplaced question from her, and I would have lost it completely. Instead her tone and her behavior helped me keep my composure.



Because of Tina’s actions and attitude throughout the whole process, she allowed me a measure of badly needed grace and dignity. It was a gift to me that day, and I am still grateful for it.

Diana is a teller at that same credit union. After I established my own account, I had trouble getting into it. I felt stupid. Idiots all over America could set up a simple online back account, but I couldn’t even figure out where to put my password and when I did I screwed it up royally.



I started to doubt my ability to function without HOB. Could I really do this? My self-esteem was at an all-time low. I cried over my computer as time after time I failed to establish my online account.



Finally, I went into the credit union and was lucky enough to walk up to Diana’s window when it was my turn. I told her I was having trouble, and she immediately assured me that it would be fine. She called to have my password re-set, and then walked me through all the steps on the computer in lobby, making sure I had it all down before I left.



Over the past few months, she has consistently helped me with all my questions. Just recently, she went out of her way to help me secure a letter I needed from the main office. In each and every transaction she has never been in the least bit impatient, and has always been generous and warm. When I go into the branch office now, I smile when I see her behind the counter. I wonder if she knows how many lives she touches in a positive way throughout her work day.


I am so grateful for these women and the kindness they have shown to me. The weeks just after HOB left were hard. I was so vulnerable and weak.



True, all three of them were just doing their jobs and yet, the way in which they did those jobs made all the difference in the world to me. Yes, they gave me good service, but more importantly they helped me restore some confidence in myself when I needed it the most.



It makes me think about how I deal with people in my job. It reminds me that we never really know what another person is going through and just by our actions we can make a huge difference in someone’s world.

So, here’s to Brieanna, Tina and Diana. Thanks for doing your jobs so well and with so much heart. In a few months, you may not even remember our interaction, but I will remember your kindness forever.

66 comments:

Teresa Evangeline said...

It is wonderful, isn't it, when people just doing their jobs make our lives much better and give us a sense of security? I've experienced very similar things, and am most grateful to those who have made a difference. I'm so glad you had these women to help you through these challenges and on to the other side of them.

Tabor said...

I hope you write a letter to the bank complimenting their service and clear information. Explain that this is why you stay with this bank, because they hire good employees.

Anne Gallagher said...

You never do know who's wearing angel's wings when you need them the most. Here's to Tina, Diana, and Brieanna.

And you know, here's to YOU, Betty, because sometimes, you don't realize, how much you appear like an angel when you post lovely poetry, or even pictures of your beautiful flowers. Sometimes, those things are the only things to brighten my day.

Laura said...

Angels in everyday life...
Thanks for the reminder that it is often the little things that you say or do that might make a big difference in someone else's life.

Madi and Mom said...

BB,
I agree with Laura and like Alabama the country group say in one of my favorite songs..."there are angels among us', You found 3 of them!!
I always try to live by the Golden Rule and treat others as I would want to be treated.
Big Hug
C

Old Kitty said...

Awww Brieanna, Tina and Diana - the Three Graces! I love them forever and ever for looking after you when you needed their professionalism with a heart most!! Take care
x

Mamma has spoken said...

Thanks goodness God put these people in your path in order to help you get through your journey.
Thoughts and prayers that more people like this happen upon your way are headed your way.

Hilary said...

Brieanna, Tina and Diana are wonderful examples of why we just can't replace people with computers in our everyday business transactions.

I also don't doubt that your own kindness in how you deal with people is reflected back to you. And that speaks volumes about the kind person that you are, Betty.

I think a letter to each of these ladies and their bosses would be a lovely thing to do. Maybe quoting your blog post, or linking to it, would give any one of them the boost they might need on a possible bad day or time, as well.

Here's to Brieanna, Tina and Diana.

Leah J. Utas said...

Good for them for their kindness and professionalism
You'll never go wrong being kind.

Out on the prairie said...

nice to have comfort when you are stressed.Liked the Helen Keller quote, I work with a number of people like her.

BECKY said...

Another wonderful post, BB. I'm amazed every time I think how much you've changed over these past few months. Something I'm grateful for? Knowing you and reading your blog!

Flartus said...

I'm very glad you had such good customer service--actual service--in this day when such a thing is a rarity. I notice you bank at a credit union. I bet that's part of the reason you get such good service there.

Gigi said...

Just goes to show; always treat people with kindness and respect - you never know what they might be dealing with.

These three women sound extraordinary. And in this day and age of horrible customer service they deserve to be honored.

laughingmom said...

Not knowing you personally except through the blog, it is hard to judge, but I am betting that this kindness came your way because of kindnesses that you have extended in your own life. It just works that way - when we are kind it tends to come back to us in unexpected ways. I'm a firm believer in this and am betting that is what has happened for you!

Donna said...

There are some Really nice people in the world...So glad you've met these three...
hughugs

Shan said...

Three cheers for the three fine women who helped our beloved BB.

Eva Gallant said...

I'm glad to know you have received good customer service and support. I worked for a bank for 12 years and taught a Customer Service Training class.

ellen abbott said...

what Laura said...way up there near the top.

Pearl said...

Amen, Betty. All over the world, there are people who do their jobs efficiently, patiently, never losing sight of the sometimes frailty of the human condition.

I am happy for you, how well you're coming through this...

Pearl

Talli Roland said...

How wonderful that these women helped you without even knowing it. Kindness goes a long way.

Linda said...

This was beautifully written, and it's a timely reminder to all of us to do our jobs well and to be kind to one another. It would be a kind thing for you to do to print out this post and give a copy to each of these three lovely ladies. I think it would mean more to them than you can imagine.

Camille said...

How very true, and how good of you to tell us about it and then take the time to thank those wonderful women. It's a good reminder to all of us to do the same. Bravo.

Pat said...

It IS wonderful when people do their job, and do it correctly. I would take this one step farther and write a letter of appreciation to the bank commending their employees, and to the insurance company. These letters go a long way for the employee, AND they will continue to behave in this manner and maybe help another person in a similar situation get through it. I'm glad you are doing okay.

jenny_o said...

I'm so glad you are finding good people to help guide you through the maze. Kindness is a gift - to have it, to show it, to receive it.

Marg said...

Well someone is looking after you to find those three wonderful gals. That is just terrific. There really are some super nice and amazing people in the world. I have found that out through the blogging. Glad you found some really nice people.

Larri @ Seams Inspired said...

Excellent. Thanks for sharing your heart today. (((HUGS)))

CiCi said...

Trying to look like you are able to do the everyday things when inside you are screaming in pain is mostly ignored by other people. The three women you describe here are tuned in to the human spirit and are in good positions at their jobs to assist people when then are struggling. This is actually a great piece of writing. From your heart.

Nicolasa @ {My}Perspective said...

I am so happy to hear that those women have been able to provide such service and caring experiences for you! It is amazing how strangers can have such an effect on us.

Linda Myers said...

And here's to you, Betty, for your candor in telling this story.

I remember how it was. It's hard to negotiate life in the fog of disbelief.

Sounds like you're on your way.

Liz said...

Thank goodness for those 3 women and their kind souls. Is there any way to send this to them?

You can do it, BB. I just know you can.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

It does make the day when someone at a business or service industry does such a great job. It makes uncomfortable, frustrating things so much easier. I"m glad someone was there for you.

Sush said...

Betty, you are amazing. I am in awe that you were able to sit through that session in the bank and not fall apart. Good for you....great of you! It is wonderful when we come across the little angels in the world who keep us sane and safe. I think we all are capable of doing this for one another if we would just try and remember how much a simple smile impacts the life of just one.
Hugs~

Retired English Teacher said...

Wow, that was really nice. Nice to read. Nice to know that you appreciated the actions of these women. Nice to know that these women were competent, kind, professional, and helpful.

You should copy this blog post, give a copy to each person, and then give a copy to their bosses. Recognition should be given to each one by those who supervise them.

You are making great progress.

Ms. A said...

Isn't it amazing how the kindness and compassion of a person, "just doing their job" can hold so much importance and meaning to someone who may have only needed the "job" part, but got SO MUCH MORE!

Rawknrobyn.blogspot.com said...

The irony of it is that these people have jobs thought to be so insignificant, yet their every gesture can make a huge difference in our overall abilities to cope with life.
Keep faith, Betty.
Hugs,
xoRobyn

bill lisleman said...

very nice of them and very nice of you to give them their recognition. Have you written them thank you notes?
Small acts of kindness and respect do wonders.
The days after my divorce were terrible but we had not been together as long as you. We did have two little girls and honestly I don't know how I would have managed being a single parent without my family.

Zuzana said...

Dear Betty, I have been somewhat absent from the blogging world but am back now.;) What a lovely post - so many times have I thought the same and I even recall a lovely quote I wrote down once, to the likes as to be kind to strangers, no matter how they behave towards us, as we never know what they go through.
I love Helen Keller quotes, they always make so much sense to me...
xoxo

welcome to my world of poetry said...

It took me along time afer my husband passed away to realise who my friends were. I have some wonderful friends who helped me that I can never repay them. Life do get easier when you are alone it takes time .

Have a great day Betty.

Yvonne.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

They were angels placed in your path for a reason.

Susan in the Boonies said...

This post made me get all teary-eyed.

You're doing great, Betty, and I think when we can count the blessings in our lives, as I see you do so often, our hope and our joy kick in, too.

I'm grateful to God for putting those kind, professional women in your path to help empower you.

HUGS!

Baby Sister said...

I'm so glad you have these people in your life to help you on this path. Thanks for the lesson. *hugs*

Out on the prairie said...

Sometimes the help we need is always around us. Hopefully you will look back on this and breathe a sigh of relief.

Brian (not the cat) said...

That's great that these three fine employees gave you the help and comfort you needed. It is a good thing it was a credit union, too. A regular bank would have charged you a $35 sadness fee.

Nancy @ A Rural Journal said...

I can't imagine how difficult this time was for you, Betty. But you got through it, with some help from these fine ladies. This is a great post -- we really are all in this life together, aren't we? :) xoxo

Lin said...

Everyday angels. That's what they are. I'm glad you found them or they found you. :) I swear God places them strategically.

Julianna said...

You have no idea how many people have no idea how to do basic banking or home related things. I also had to do all these things on my own when I got divorced... including BUYING my first house at 29 with two babies in tow.

Now a days I am remarried, and in the end it is still me who handles all over the house stuff. I will supervise the new roof install, the tree removal, the insurance claim for the water damage AND the new backdoor install. Not becuae he won't do it, but because now, I find it empowering that I CAN.

Hang in there, it does get better... my motto... "EAT, DRINK, & RE-MARRY".

Elizabeth said...

Love your cool header.

NEW FOLLOWER

Elizabeth

http://silversolara.blogspot.com

karen said...

It's true. There are a lot of good people out there. I found many of them when I found myself on my own, too. Kind of restored my faith in the goodness of the world. I'm glad you had that same experience.

Lydia Kang said...

This is the difference between just doing your job, and doing your job but seeing that there are real people behind those account numbers.

Daisy said...

What a touching and wonderful post, Betty. It is so true that we don't know what anyone else is going through, and we should always do our best to be kind to everyone we meet because of that. Even the smallest of gestures of kindness can mean the world to someone else, and we will never even realize it.

KleinsteMotte said...

I hear your shock . I understand that those women were among those who are trying very hard to help you get from your bad place to a more bearable one. It is truly touching and it's good to learn that in our troubled world there are so many souls still willing to give heartfelt support. HUGSto you.

Random Thinker said...

Betty - I started reading your blog only a few short months before you learned about the break up of your marriage. You don't know me but I feel I know you through your blog. You are quite a woman. Every day you show how you emerge on the other side of these shocks to your world a stronger, more confident and capable person. You, and these women are inspirations.

Peggy K said...

:) Angels at work!! I'm reading this just before bedtime and find that I'm feeling a bit of serenity. Thanks for reminding us about angels and about expressing our gratitude for them!!

Annie said...

Sometimes people come out of the blue to be our heroes of the moment.
Big hugs Betty.. big hugs.

SquirrelQueen said...

There are a few kind, caring people out there but usually they are hard to find. I am so glad that these three angels were there when you needed them Betty.

SueAnn said...

What a huge blessing for you during this difficult time! Wonderful tribute to these ladies!!
I just wanted to say too that you are much stronger than you think! As time goes on, you will come to know this deep inside!!'
Hugs
SueAnn

~Nicole Ducleroir~ said...

So true, we never know what the person in line behind us at the grocery store is going through in her life, or the person waiting tables at the neighborhood restaurant. It's so easy to dismiss the strangers around us, to only concentrate on the problems in our own lives. But a common thread in our humanity is that we all journey through a lifetime of often difficult times that challenge us to the core. All of us. Thanks for reminding me today to look with compassion at the people around me, and to be more generous in my interactions with the world.

Nezzy said...

Sweetie, I hope ya know I'm still holdin' you in my prayers. This has gotta be tough for you. I won't even pretend to know what your goin' through.

I'm so happy these three lovely ladies went above and beyond to help you transition through the toughest time in your life.

God bless and enjoy this beautiful day!!! :o)

Ann said...

How wonderful to find those three earth angels just when you needed them most. They held you up when you felt like falling and now that you have your strength back bigger and better than ever before I'm betting you will do the same for anyone who comes your way :)

SUGAR MOON said...

Enjoyed the post. We really don't ever know what the other person might be going through that day or that moment. Thanks for the reminder.

Sarah said...

Thanks to angels like them, the world is still worth residing. They hae no clue how important their attitude is, and it's a good reminder for us all.

Lazarus said...

The person who I feel sorry for in all of this is HOB, he doesn't even realize yet what he has thrown away, what a truly wonderful woman he has lost. You, my friend, will no doubt have your pick of suitors when you're ready. And if you ever need help with another insurance claim, feel free to call me, it'll be my pleasure to help. Hang in there Boss, it gets better every day and a lot of people are on your side...

Katie Gates said...

Such a touching, heartfelt post. I'm sorry that you've been going through such a painful transition, but how lucky for you that there are kind, graceful customer service reps out there in the otherwise cruel world. The fact that you met three of them -- just when you needed to -- speaks volumes.

Catherine said...

This is a fantastic reminder Betty that we just never know who's life we effect by our words and our actions. There are some terrific people out in the world!

xo Catherine

The Empress said...

Angels set in your life.

I remember my BF in real life going through this same disappointing situation in her life, 10 years ago...I felt so helpless, but she met everyone: from bank teller to divorce attorney to real estate agent that were so kind.

They did more than "just their job." They were human to her.

ladydazy said...

:)