I know I promised regular updates again, but after last post things got busy at work. Working on reworking document templates and workflows and email templates and new processes, I haven’t had the brainspace to properly contemplate another blog post.
I’ve had a couple of ideas rattling around, but I’ve found I need more time to shake them out before committing keyboard to text-entry field, (to adapt an old phrase in a completely strange way,) and the time just ain’t been there.
But I got a text and a call from the big boss man on Saturday morning, just after I awoke and put my first cup of coffee in the microwave – a younger coworker had committed suicide.
After I hung up, I just stared at the phone. I replayed the conversation I just had in my head a couple of times. The microwave reminded me I had a hot cup of coffee at least four times before I went to get it.
It needed another thirty seconds.
I kept looking at the clock, wondering if the alarm would go off. The microwave finished heating my coffee and reminded me twice more that I had hot coffee before I got it out.
I kept waiting for the alarm to go off.
Before I go any further, let me tell you about this coworker. He was one of the sales guys, and he did cold-calling and emailing and finding leads. He had a positivity and happiness about himself that was forcefully infectious. He was in the sales area for a reason – because he made friends easily, and was a force of nature – in a very positive and reinforcing and humorous way. He was fourteen years younger than me.
It hit us all hard. None of us could believe that he would do such a thing.
He was so positive and happy. He always looked to lift others up, to help them soar.
We all went to work on Monday, and we were all pretty quiet. We were all still thinking about it, obsessing. Why? What drove him to it? Why? How could he…?
As time passed, we all talked and remembered him. We could only think to the times he was out of work at the doctor’s. About how these doctor’s appointments ran over. About additional appointments that needed to be scheduled. About procedures. About missing more and more work.
We shared stories about when he was in. What he had been going through.
By yesterday, many of us understood that he was in massive pain. That the procedures he was going through were to eliminate crippling pain. That the procedures were not working. That he kept trying alternatives. That the alternatives didn’t work, either. And yet, while he was in this pain and in the office, he was able to make us laugh, to keep us happy. To make sure we didn’t worry.
He had injured his back, his shoulder, his knee… There was a nerve pinched or damaged that fed pretty directly into the spine, if it wasn’t part of the spine. I don’t know the names of the anatomical parts or the medical conditions he experienced, nor do I know the names of the medications he was on, but I do know what I saw – that he was keeping up a brave front, and it was overwhelming him. I’d seen it before, but didn’t recognize it in him until hindsight.
And last Friday, he reached as much as he could take.
So we, as a mass group, closed the office this morning and went to the funeral.
As a group we offered empathy/sympathy to the family. We thanked them for him. We tried to support them. They seemed grateful, but tired. I can sympathize.
I’m quite satisfied, and I know it’s unrealistic to expect to be satisfied, in the knowledge that he tried everything before this final act. But I am satisfied, because I did get to know him.
But it’s still hard.
It probably will be hard for a while.
We have our memories of him, and the crazy crap he did to have fun with us, to make us laugh, to make us think, to make us a family.
I wish there had been another way for him. But I understand.
For those that read, thanks for stopping by. For those that don’t, keep on not reading, then.