I’m A Sucker For Tears

Tom Hanks is famous for reminding his team that “There’s no crying in baseball”. I can’t say that about insurance. Unfortunately, there are way too many tears shed in my office. I can handle rude clients, unappreciative clients, and even angry clients. Crying? Crying I can’t handle.

The woman on the phone was angry, hurt and crying. Her boss, my client, has no idea what she really does for him and his company. She deserves a sizeable raise based just on his verbal abuse. Ostensibly, she was calling me because an employee died over the weekend and she needed to know how to file the paperwork. In truth what she really needed was ten minutes to calm down so that she didn’t quit a job she really needed. So while she was dealing with the death of a coworker she was also forced to acknowledge that she, too, might be working there until she died. Her tears were totally justified.

There are any number of reasons for me to break out the box of tissues in my office. It might be the cost of coverage. It could be a loved one being diagnosed with a dread disease. And sometimes it is the conversation with a recent widow or widower. Tears are tears. I can’t separate or prioritize pain. The man who didn’t want his wife of thirty years to leave is just as deserving of my time as the mother of three whose husband can’t ever come home again. And all of these life-events necessitate a trip to the insurance office.

It has been a difficult week. One of my friends is in the hospital. And there are times when I may spend a little too much time in nursing homes and extended care facilities. These places may be designed to make the last years comfortable, but only a fool forgets that the residents are there for their last years.