I Never Can Say Goodbye

As I write this, one of my friends is preparing to bury her father. One had to fly out of town unexpectedly to do a welfare check on her father – he had died in his home. Another spent last weekend cleaning out her dad’s house to ready it for sale. One cancelled our girl’s weekend because her mom and stepfather are failing and could go at any time. None of this is funny – unless I say something like “the common denominator (seriously – a math reference? Do we even teach those anymore?) is me – stay away from me or your parents will die. Which really isn’t that funny.

I am pretty sure it is because most of my friends are around my age – which means it is just a timing thing. My blogs have become a little farther apart as surrounded by all of this is not happy at all. Just because death is a normal part of life and all that crap, doesn’t mean I have to talk about it all of the time. But, since I’m thinking it all of the time – it is all I can write. Bleck. At least I stopped writing about the ungraceful things that happen to us as we age. (Just because I stopped doesn’t mean I am done.)

I have always hated goodbyes. Always.

I don’t like to say goodbye on the phone – funny – I must have learned that from Dad – it used to drive all of my friends and family nuts – Dad would just hang up the phone when he thought the conversation had come to an end. Seriously – a few friends have admitted to me that they do everything in their power to try to make him say goodbye. My sister and I just laugh about it. We also laugh about the things he does say. Like once, he ended his conversation with me like this, “I still love you.” She and I giggle over that all of the time. Sometimes we say it to each other. The sad part is, that tiny joke will be lost in a few generations. Maybe he didn’t like goodbyes either.

I don’t say goodbye on the phone, either – but I don’t just hang up. I say things like, “I’ll call you. Call me or have a good day. Try not to kill your kids, your husband, your dog.”  I’ve already told you I don’t say goodbye at parties. When friends leave, or when we part – I never say those actual words. I don’t like people to leave – ever. (Okay – sometimes. People who let their kids eat strawberries on my white couch. Or, assholey relatives.)

Maybe I think it is because I won’t see them again. Maybe because it hurts. The friend who is getting ready to bury her father told me she wouldn’t say goodbye at his funeral. She was going to wish him peace and happiness. What a beautiful idea. It doesn’t bring tears the way “goodbye” or “say hi to Mom” does. It is hopeful, it is positive. And, not only is it a great way to not say goodbye – it is a great thing to wish for yourself and the others left behind.

You never know when someone’s words will enrich your life. It happens to me all of the time.

 

Do You Know Jack?

It has been a challenging week. One of my coworkers passed away suddenly and unexpectedly. While driving into work, I received a frantic call from one of my employees. She was hysterical. After a few minutes, I was able to weave together a story: Let’s call the employee who passed away, “Bob.”  Bob died suddenly in front of his family. They called 911, and Bob’s wife went to hospital with her soon to be deceased husband. The 3 children (of unknown ages) were home alone and they were also frantic and hysterical. The employee that called me was on her way to their “house” (Damn, I love quotation marks) on foot…because she didn’t have a car. He must live close, I thought. Well, this was fun.

I called my boss and advised of situation and headed to pick up my walking employee. When I picked her up, she was headed the wrong way and was obviously an emotional disaster. Fantastic. I would really like to know when I became the “calm one”, because as my family can attest…..I was the “Stress Queen.” about everything…..all the time. But, I digress……..

We headed to their place, I had no idea what I would find. I was a little worried, though. I had owned rental properties and had seen some horrific things……would I see something I didn’t want to see? (haha…..just wait) When the widow opened the door, I was glad to know that the kids were not alone. The “kids” were teenagers. The death had happened the day before. In this very room. The apartment was meticulous. Small…..probably 2 or 3 bedroom. 2 adults and 3 teenagers. In a small place, if one thing is out of order, the place looks like a wreck. This home was peaceful, the violence of the day before leaving no trace. The entire leftover family was devastated. Crying. Sobbing. The widow has been in this country and married to her husband for 20 years. Her English was not so good. She had never worked outside the home. She didn’t drive. Her dead husband, and my employee, worked hard and made @$14.00/hour. This family felt isolated, their future uncertain. I wanted to cry.

After confirming the passing of my coworker, and calming down the widow, I took my other employee and we headed into work. Except, she was so distraught, she needed to go home. After I dropped her off, I headed into work. This was shaping up to be a fantastic day….did I mention it was a Monday?

Once an announcement was made, everyone was in kind of shock. Some crying, some stunned. Everyone quiet. I was wandering around making sure all were doing “okay” when I heard very loud sobbing behind me.  Turned out it was a 22 year old female who had just read the news when she arrived. I brought her to a quiet office where she could compose herself and she proceeded to verbally throw up on me: she and the deceased had been dating (despite the 30 year age difference); they were in love; they had spent the day before in bed and “he was so happy he was jumping all over the bed”….not a visual I want seared into my brain…..a 53 year old balding man (that I worked with) jumping naked on the bed like a 5 year old. She went on and on…..seriously, why on earth would she tell me this? This was worse (yet funnier) than anything I had ever seen inside any of my rentals.  

And that is where I am…..saddened and worried about the family and saddened by the devastated 22 year old. Surprised and a little bit impressed by my fellow coworker. And, disgusted, totally disgusted. Taking advantage of young, ignorant girls. However, I was 22 once and I made all of my own decisions. Good or bad.  But, someone old enough to be your father and in a position of authority should know better.

The next day, the 22 year old was still in a state. She felt that the rest of the office was talking about her (they were). She thought management had spread her story (we hadn’t). After all, she had only told 5 or 6 other people that work here……..

We had been investigating this employee for lots of overtime reported, but not actually worked. (Now it looked like we had been providing a lovers nest and paying for him to “love” in it.) We had been trying to figure out why he needed the money all of a sudden. In addition to that, we had been working with him regarding some of his behaviours and it looked like he was about to be in the middle of a career shit storm. I am sorry for his family and all of our loss. I really am. But, as the layers of this “cheating” onion are unpeeled and more secrets (more girlfriends, possible pregnancies, et al) are revealed…..I find that I can do nothing but laugh and laugh and laugh……..he was doing all of this right under our noses. And this stuff was huge…..I wasn’t planning to attend the funeral….but, now….now, I am thinking this could be entertaining. And devastating. Sad. But, funny. Tragic, but funny.

You think you know people………