Sometimes Silence Isn’t Golden

So the other day I had to call someone in the IT department at work to help walk me through a technical issue with my computer. We were communicating by phone and it was just easier for her to log in to my system remotely and take over my controls and fix the problem.

You know how sometimes you just feel like you don’t want to say the wrong thing to make the wrong person angry with you? Especially if that person has something you need and you just know that they could potentially make your life miserable if you rub them the wrong way…? Yeah, that feeling. So that was me this day. I’m no technical genius (regardless of what my dad thinks), so I just wanted the lady to fix my computer and for it work seamlessly again. So I stayed silent and submissive on the line while she worked her technical magic.

At some point some thing was “processing” so both she and I were silently watching the screen and waiting for it to finish doing its thing. Now, I’m an introvert, I am extremely comfortable with silence. Quite frankly, if I don’t know a person too well, silence is my preferred mode of communication 😉

This particular lady was not of that ilk. She was really sweet and as I found out, is one those people who likes to fill silence with conversation. I’m not rude, so if someone talks to me I’ll hold my own end of the conversation. We talked about the upcoming Mother’s Day and she asked if I was a mother and what I planned to do on that day (which happens to be today). Then I threw the question back at her as well, because I actually genuinely was beginning to enjoy the conversation and was now curious about my tech genius pal on the other end of the line.

She told me that she had no children but that she had had seven pregnancies and lost every one. I was speechless… I almost fell forward out of my chair. I was grief-stricken for her right away. Then I thought for a second that I might not have heard her correctly so I asked for clarification… I had heard her correctly.

Immediately, she became more than just the IT person on the other end of the line. I knew something human about her now. Her name was more than just what was printed on the ID badge I am sure she was wearing. She was a real live person with a life outside of the office. She was a woman who saw Mother’s Day from a different lens than what all the commercials on TV this week had been touting. She was a mother too, just not the type that gets celebrated…and that’s sad.

I got brave. I expressed my heartfelt condolences to her. I told her that I had family members and friends who had experienced the same thing but I knew that I could not fully understand the grief or horror of losing one child, talk less of seven. She seemed to appreciate the show of support; she said that she usually avoids Mother’s Day for that very reason. I felt bad. I felt bad for her. I felt bad because she said she has learnt to deal with it. I believe she has, but still…

My lesson for that day was that silence isn’t always golden. I would like to think that talking with her about her children helped her feel better about the whole situation. Maybe she needed to talk about them to keep them near her at a time when there are so many reminders of motherhood. I don’t know, but silence isn’t always golden.

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