memorial to a former manager

September 2, 2011 at 1:00 am 2 comments

last night, i attended a memorial to my former manager held at his friend’s house. even though he left the company two years ago, communications between us didn’t stop. he continued to send us e-mails from time to time.

as a manager, he didn’t come across as likeable to some. he could be gruff, demanding, and eager to exercise his authority.

i remember one of my co-workers even thought of assaulting him in the garage for “messing up” with his program. on the way to lunch, i told the co-worker what did he expect the manager to do? he was on vacation and that somebody had to work on his code that didn’t pass quality assurance.

i surmised that there might be other issues that made him blow his top, but rather than allow him to add more fuel to the fire, i squashed it by giving him some lessons on karma. i told him that it’s better to settle our differences now in this lifetime than face them in the next.

“what if, on the next life, you’re born a woman and, by some twist of fate, you and the manager become husband and wife,” i joked. “how would it feel to see him on top of you all the time making lovey-dovey?”

that did it. he quieted down. “don’t ever say that even if it’s just a joke,” he sneered and pretended to hit me on the face.

anyway, back to my former manager’s story.

it appears that last week, his younger brother was unable to reach him. he called one of his friends (the one who coordinated the memorial) to check him out. when she went to his apartment, there was no answer at the door. alarmed, she called the cops. when the cops forced themselves in, they found his corpse. they figured he had been dead for a couple of days.

from what i had gathered, he had been sick and in pain for many months now. two years ago, he had surgery to alleviate the pain in his back. recently, he required a second surgery to remove some hardware that was no longer required. during this surgery, the surgeon accidentally ‘nicked’ his spinal cord, and he ended up contracting meningitis. after a struggle and doses of antibiotics, he seemed to be doing better. he started taking classes to get his mcse. about three weeks ago, during one of his classes, he sat next to someone that had a bad cold. he caught the cold, further adding to his health misery.

the memorial was attended by his two brothers who came from philadelphia, friends, and former co-workers.

one of his friends told stories about how he loved her two boys. her mother, who also knew him, said that he was the kindest man to her daughter and grandkids that she had ever met.

his best friend in california, his wife, and their kids were there. the couple had very fond memories of him. they told how he had supported them through hard times and how he loved their kids. he always had the biggest presents (‘never wrapped’) for their birthdays and holidays.

some of his childhood friends, who now live in california, were there, too. they told stories about their growing up together. they also talked about his involvement with the drum and bugle corps.

me and three female companions did not talk. we were speechless in our grief that kleenex couldn’t hide.

his older brother always worried about him and whether he was happy here in california. he always wondered if he should have moved back to philadelphia. but after meeting all of his friends last night, he felt relieved that his brother had many wonderful friends and was happy.

in accordance to his will, his body would be cremated. his younger brother would take his ashes back to philadelphia for a family memorial and burial.

it’s amazing how death enables you to see a person from a different perspective. by then, it’s too late.


Entry filed under: Blogroll, office, work. Tags: , , , , .

A Day of Penance Amdana

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. kate  |  September 4, 2011 at 10:58 am

    I’m so sorry to hear about your friend, and you’re so right about the different perspective!

    • 2. plaridel  |  September 4, 2011 at 2:46 pm


      as i grow older, i’m coming to realize what clarence said to george in the “it’s a wonderful life” movie: “no man is a failure who has friends.”

      i’m pretty sure he’s in a better place now sans the debilitating pain.


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