Monday, November 15, 2010


Bob -- my supervisor, colleague, mentor, friend -- told us about three and a half years ago that he had been diagnosed with a terminal illness. For a while, he was beating it. A month ago, it started beating him. Thursday morning, we got the news that that day would probably be the end. He lasted until 8am Friday.

In my more noble moments, I think of what is to be learned from the experience:
  1. In seeing how I feel about people's responses, I can learn what does and doesn't work, so that I can respond more appropriately to others who are experiencing loss.
  2. Awareness of the finiteness of our time here brings an appreciation of the time we do have -- the moments of feeling sunshine warming me, seeing the brilliance of autumn leaves, time spent with friends.
  3. How do I want to use my time here? I want to use it to treat others with kindness, to knit people together into harmonious communities, to build communities based on sustainable living and on treating all with kindness and respect. I want to spend it delighting in the beauty of nature and in the sound of music. I want to spend it dancing. I want to spend it with family and friends. I want to spend it with sunshine on my skin and my bare feet on grass.
In my less noble moments:
  1. I cry.
  2. I get annoyed with everyone. I'm annoyed at the people who go on with their lives as if nothing is wrong. I'm annoyed at the people expressing their memories of Bob who were not even close to him. I'm annoyed at the people who do not offer me sympathy. I'm annoyed at people who offer me sympathy in the wrong way, or sympathy from the wrong people. That is just about everyone, since no kind of sympathy will make it better.
  3. I'm listless at work. How can I do my work when I have no supervisor?
  4. I annoy my colleagues. I feel like I want to do something, and all I can do is to get the news and tributes out there, so I hover too much over colleagues who are trying to do something about it.
  5. Usually at the end of the day, I write down on a calendar what I did that day. I left Friday blank on my calendar. Usually I call my mom often, maybe four times a week. I haven't called her since the news Thursday morning, and I don't want to call her.

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