Monday, March 10, 2008

Loss in Our Work Family

Sometimes a coworker dies. Sometimes everybody just feels sad. Other times, it leaves the same kind of hole that the loss of your growing-up family leaves. A great loss in your work family affects your work culture. Especially when your coworker has been a steadying force in your workplaces for 36 years.

He was 82 and had worked at the library as a guard for 36 years. His wife had worked at the library for a good long time, too.

He played with a mariachi band until he went into the hospital.

He greeted me every morning and taught me local idioms in Spanish.

Due to my talent for arriving last, he nicknamed me "the caboose"

He always said my favorite summer hat reminded him of the girls picking strawberries in the field when he was young.

Even at 82, his presence in uniform with a group of over-enthusiastic young people calmed the situation and reminded them without words of respect for their elders.

He gave us all the acknowledgement any person would crave.

We'll have a picture of him and a guest book and some candles tomorrow in the lobby. I have no doubt that the table will become an altar/ofrenda where staff and the public will leave sweets and other things he loved to honor his spirit. Wouldn't be surprised if the informal things left at the ofrenda will become part of the ofrenda display we have in the art gallery for Day of the Dead/Dia del Muertos in October.

Just another example of how we can never know how much we touch other people when we act with kindness and joy.

1 comment:

Lori said...

What a lovely tribute, Bookie. He sounds like a sweet soul.