Day 127 - Lisa (2nd person I approached)
May 07, 2014 - Lisa was sitting outside smoking a cigarette. She told me she was on her break, that she would talk to me, but that she only had ten minutes left before going back into work. Born in Vancouver, Lisa grew up in Richmond. She is the oldest of four children.
“I went to one elementary school and one high school. I knew kids from all of my classes, but I wasn’t much of a sociable person. I’m not in contact with anyone that I went to school with,” she said.
Lisa quit school in Grade 12.
“I ended up going back to school as a mature student. I took a one year program and became a legal stenographer. I did that for about ten years and then it got boring. So I went back to school again, for another year and became a nursing unit administrator. The job was stressful, and after ten years, I decided to take a lesser role and became a hospital porter,” said Lisa. We talked for a bit about the nature of the job sometimes allowing for more time to connect with patients. We also chatted about how demanding the hospital porter’s role is.
In January of this year, one of Lisa’s three children was killed in a car accident.
“She was a dancer,” said Lisa. She showed me a beautiful photograph of her daughter Alexia, that she had on her phone.
“She was living in Alberta with her boyfriend. It was late at night and ‘Lexi was unfamiliar with the road she was driving on. She took a wrong turn on a poorly lit stretch of road and headed in the wrong direction. She died in a head on collision with an SUV. The passengers in the other vehicle sustained a few broken bones, but everyone else survived. Lexi died instantly, and I’m grateful for that. That she didn’t suffer,” Lisa said.
After the accident, Lisa took seven weeks off work.
“It was tough, I took off as much time as I could. I had to come back to work because I couldn’t afford to be off any longer. I’m back at work before I’m ready. Money is tight as it is, without taking more time off work.” Lisa and her two children spent a week in Hawaii, paid for by Lisa’s mother.
“She wanted us to just get away, as a family. It's definitely been tough on everyone. We're all seeing a grief counsellor. It was good to have my children with me. To spend time together and be away from everything here. I cried every day though,” she said, with tears in her eyes.
I asked Lisa if she felt that work was a good way to connect with a support network, her coworkers in the hospital.
“Yes, the people I work with are amazing. The job isn’t easy. I walk on average nine miles a day while doing my job. Sometimes, as a hospital porter I have to take bodies down to the morgue. That’s really difficult. I hold it together as best I can. I work, it keeps my mind busy. I go home and I cry. Every day.” #notastranger