One of my favorite jobs at the Inn is working in the office during the meal. I'm sure I've talked about it before but it's basically answering the phone, answering the door, and checking guest mail. I love it because the office person doesn't need to get caught up in the insane pace of the meal, but works at their own pace. I love the opportunity to sit and talk with guests while they're waiting for their insurance agency or the social security office to pick up their call. Yesterday I had the wonderful opportunity to be in the office. In between checking mail and answering the phone, I was able to check my email and play games on the computer. With about half an hour left in the meal, a woman who I'd seen before but never really talked to came in to ask for some information about getting an ID. After talking to her, I found out that she lost her ID back in December when her husband died. He had been clean for 7 1/2 years and one day decided to "do a bag" (of what, I'm not sure- my guess is heroin) to see if it still worked (I'm also not sure what this means but I let her continue her story). She told me that she went into the bedroom to after being out for the day and after seeing him doing the drugs (she has now been clean for 4 1/2 years), she turned around and walked out. No sooner was she half way down the stairs did she hear a thud and realized that he had overdosed. Between all the stress of rushing him to the hospital and dealing with all that happens when someone dies, she left her purse in the lobby of the hospital. I asked her how she was dealing with his death and she seems to be doing okay. I asked if it has made her want to use again (dealing with the stress and depression of the loss) and she told me that it was all the more reason why she didn't want to use ever again. I am inspired by her resilience. She continued to tell me more about her life and the struggles that she faced. I told her she should be proud of herself for being as strong as she is in spite of all that has happened and she replied, "I'm not doing anything great." Sometimes I think even in these situations, just getting by is the biggest accomplishment.
Many drug users lose their teeth (I'm not sure why, but it just seems like everyone has at least one tooth missing) and so when I saw Kelly's mouth full of rotting teeth, I attributed it to the drugs. She explained to me that she was in an accident awhile ago and all her teeth got smashed out. She had beautiful dentures that looked like her own teeth. But she attempted suicide by drinking bleach and so in order to keep her alive they had to put her on a respirator. They took her dentures out and her husband was so concerned about being with her and focusing on her that he didn't think to take the dentures. Apparently with insurance agencies, they only allow you to get one set of dentures every 5-7 years and we are still within this time frame. Kelly said that it's so hard to walk around the street with her mouth looking as it does. I gave her the hours to the clinic because there is a dentist there that I hope can help her.
I really enjoyed talking to Kelly. As our conversation was winding down (because it was the end of the meal), Kelly thanked me for asking her how she was doing. She said that no one ever cares or asks... My question is why do people enter the social service field if they don't care? Who is that going to help? Anyway, enough of that, I feel blessed to have been able to talk to Kelly yesterday. Her resilience and strength help me to find strength and courage in my own life.
For the first time since August 18th, I had the house entirely to myself last night! Emily left for Siena College to recruit yesterday afternoon and Maureen headed out to Pittsburgh with Ryan to visit some college friends. I came home from work, napped, then went into Center City with Joanne. We found a really cute little Tea Bar (yep, tea bar- only tea, lots of tea) on a side street and just talked and sipped tea. I came back to a big empty house where I read a little bit and then took advantage of the quiet and did some praying. It was really peaceful until I decided to go to bed when I could hear every creak the house made. And for some reason, I was convinced someone was going to break into the house last night. Luckily for everyone involved, there was no such occurrence and I woke up this morning well-rested and ready to begin my Sunday!
I worked in the yard today, doing lineup. February has been such a weird month as far as our numbers go. They've been particularly low and the pace of the meal is different. We seem to have all our guests come at the beginning and by the end of the meal, we've closed tables because no one is coming and we shut the doors with very few people still in the dining room. It's been a welcomed change, but eerie at the same time.
Thanks for reading! God bless!