This is not the post I planned for today. But sometimes Life intervenes and will not be ignored. If you read comments on last Tuesday’s post later on Wednesday or afterward, you may have an idea of what’s coming. If not, I hope you’ll bear with me today.
The last few weeks have been stressful at work. (If you count our acquisition by another company in December, the last few months have been rough.) Deadlines to be met. Projects coming in all at once rather than a manageable few at a time. A large proposal to be submitted with too few people available to work on it. My husband and I were cranky and exhausted last Tuesday. We were looking forward to a five-day break where we could stop bitching and get the blood pressure back down. We deserved it after all those headaches, right? I mean, why does life have to be such a pain in the behind at times?
And then, Wednesday morning, Life reminded us how trivial all of that was.
We learned that a good friend and colleague from work had died on Tuesday while out of the office. And what could possibly be sadder news than that? How about the fact that many in his family were already in town because 1) they would be celebrating his parents’ 60th wedding anniversary over the weekend, and 2) he was supposed to get married this Thursday.
Shock. Numbness. Disbelief. Tears.
We’ve gone through them all, multiple times. It still doesn’t seem real. We tried to have the break we planned, which was mainly to relax, take in the 4th of July fireworks, and visit a historic site. But, really, how normal could it be? My plans to finally take photos of the fireworks were scrubbed. I just didn’t have the heart to bring the camera. The trip over the nearby Potomac River to Gunston Hall in Virginia was subdued not only because of the heat but also because we knew Sunday we would head east to Annapolis and the memorial and funeral.
The memorial and funeral. His mother was amazing, staying calm as we introduced ourselves—unable to hold back our tears. She was so strong for everyone there. We never know how strong we could be until a situation is thrust upon us. But I doubt I could ever have the grace and strength she showed on Sunday. Parents shouldn’t bear this load.
Yesterday we were back in the office for the first time since it happened. There was his office, just as he’d left it before heading out to pick up a security badge for an upcoming project and then the 4th of July holiday and family celebrations. It’s still too soon for someone to quietly sort through everything and, ultimately, prepare it for a new occupant. There were quiet moments taken with a colleague to continue grieving, but we all accomplished “real work,” too. There are projects to complete, deadlines to meet, new proposals to be written. Life does go on. But for now, there’s a shift in the tide.
Next week I’ll post something more typical for me. But I wanted to remind everyone who reads this that in reality, we don’t know what tomorrow will bring. And so even though you’ve heard this so many times before, a reminder never hurts. We don’t always get the chance to say goodbye. So today, please make time to let family and friends know how much you care and how important they are in your life. And then go make some good memories together.