On my bed, back in my room. Back home.
I wrote this blog:
One of the most optimistic and most encouraging human beings I have ever met. When I used to work in the café at my local farmer’s market, I was still in high school and I was about 16 years old. I had many, upon many deep chats with Steve about values, different lifestyles, travelling aspirations and goals for each year. All in our shared lunch break.
Steve was one of the first adults who treated me like an adult. Who listened to my opinion and he encouraged me to really get out into the world for my own sake, and for his.
As time went on, I would go on my adventures throughout the world and then always come back and continue our great conversations. Steve’s role at the farmers’ market is that he would generally cook up many different types of meat, cut them for tasters for passing customers to eat and then hopefully they would buy the steak on the shelves.
They normally would.
“Ma’am, do yourself a favour and try this lovely rump steak!”.
He was so charismatic and when I would pop back into the country and surprise him, he would champion me and make me feel like I just hiked Everest. He had this effect on many people.
Bring it back to where I last finished my entry; after seeing the monstrous volcano erupt right before my eyes in Guatemala. It was time to return home.
After 72 hours of agonising, friendship making and interrupted sleeps; I touched down in Perth. Within a week or so I had been accepted into a Youth Worker role in my hometown Bunbury.
There was lots of training and then I was out on the floor; started off quite well. But you do have your moments when working with high needs kids. I would regularly have a young person swearing or threatening me for a long period of time. I started to leave each shift exhausted and drained. The situation escalated within a day when I was physically assaulted on two occasions.
Physically I was okay, but the constant aggression took its toll on me. Especially knowing
that the next day I had another 24-hour shift with this young person.
The night before my next shift started, I found out through Facebook that my beloved friend, Steve had unexpectedly passed away.
I was in disbelief. I felt numb.
I hadn’t yet experienced losing someone who meant a great deal to me. I honestly did not know what to do with this feeling. I sat down and starred at the floor for some time; I don’t know how long for.
I woke up the next morning and went to my shift, quite fragile.
Throughout this shift the young person’s behaviour escalated rapidly and he hit me in the car with sticks and with a snorkel mask (which to my surprise actually hurt a lot). The police got involved and the situation was taken care of.
24 hours later when my shift had finished as I started to drive home, as did the tears. After bottling everything up for some time; it was time for me to have that natural release.
When I parked my car, one of my best friends who is also my neighbour, drove by. He saw me, he saw my state, he stopped, he got out, he opened my car door and he gave me the biggest hug. The hug I needed. He didn’t say much, rather he listened as I tried to get out my words. He didn’t give me sympathy, he gave me empathy.
If I was all alone in a hole, someone would show their sympathy by standing on the surface looking down at me and saying how bad it is that I’m in that hole; or going straight to giving me advice on how to get out of there.
Whilst empathy is when you go down to the hole, you listen to how they got there and just by doing that… you connect.
My best friend could have given me advice on what to do, on how to be a better youth worker or how to handle yourself when losing a loved one. But I wasn’t looking for a solution, I was looking for a friend. And he went above and beyond and took me out for breakfast.
Thank you, brother.
That was this morning, now it is 10:38 PM. I have a 24-hour shift in less than 10 hours with the same young person. And I feel ready, not 100%. But equipped.
Having that support and connection with other human beings, is incredible and can rapidly build you for the next challenge Talking about your problems and having caring friends and family is one aspect.
But it’s also up to me. It’s up to you.
I love my friends and family but they are not my counsellors.
What other things can I put in place, so I can be prepared, motivated and have a positive outlook for tomorrow.
I walked, I cried, I ran, I watched tennis, I spent time with my dog, I hanged out with Jesus, I read and I wrote.
I wrote this chapter.
‘Storms will pass’.
That saying maybe true, but I also think I have the choice to sail the boat over the waves and get out of that storm.
It’s definitely not an immediate or quick journey. It is usually treacherous, hard, overwhelming and long.
But it’s possible.
The last few days have been some of the hardest days of my life. I have no idea how tomorrow and the rest of the week will go.
But surrounding myself with people who are loving and empathizewith me, helped. Unbelievably.
But after the conversations with my beloveds, when I’m alone, what’s my plan?
What’s your plan?
We all have different storms.
Everyone is different. Everyone sails differently.
To Steve’s family,
I am so sorry of what happened.
He spoke about you guys very fondly and always told me how proud he is of his kids.
He was an incredible man.
He will be greatly missed.
I learnt a lot from his positivity and adventurous spirit.