Friday, August 27, 2010


A good man died a week ago.  A man I knew because of my job.  I can't really call him a friend.  In fact, I'm not even sure he liked me.  I never really knew where I stood with him, unless he was disgusted with me, in which case he let it be known.  But the thing is, I can't fault him for that.  He had a job to do, and it was the most important thing in his life.  He was looking out for his daughter, because she's unable to look out for herself.  Plain an simple.  I tried using my humor and charm (ha) on him the first time I met him, and that went over like a lead balloon.  I was intimidated by this man, even though I tried my best not to be.  I think he liked that, not so much because he liked having power over me, but because he knew I would always think first about what was best for his daughter, thereby not having to face his wrath.  Can't fault him for that either.

When I learned of his illness almost two years ago, my heart hurt for him.  We all knew it was a death sentence.  I even spoke to him about his treatment and outlook a few times.  I expressed my sadness at the hand he'd been dealt.  After a year or so, he stopped coming by the office; his wife came instead.  I've enjoyed getting to know her.  Talk about polar opposites.  It's always hard to know what to say to someone going through a difficult time.  You can offer the usual; "you're in my thoughts" or I'm praying for you and your family" but somehow that doesn't always ring true for me.  His wife stopped coming by the office a few months ago, using the mail instead.  I considered sending a "thinking of you" card a time or two, but felt it might be unwelcome in his eyes.  I worried he would see it as an attempt to "suck up" for lack of a better term.  So I sent nothing. 

Yesterday, when I learned he had passed away, I felt an unexpectedly deep sense of sadness.  His obituary incuded a link to a Caring Bridge website his daughter started 4 months ago after he was moved to Hospice.  Her journal introduced me to a different man.  A husband, a father, a grandfather.  A man I regret not getting to know. 

If I learned anything from this experience, it is that when in doubt, say or do something.  Don't remain silent.  You may never get a 2nd chance.  Rest in Peace Art.

1 comment:

  1. Great post, Barbie. I guess this was one of those "live and learn lessons" that we encounter in life and you are a better person for having known this man.