I recently took a new position with the company I’ve worked for years and have moved back into a building I worked in years ago, into the office vacated by a friend of mine. Every afternoon around 3 pm, the housekeeping man comes to empty my garbage. Joe, who is in his eighties, has worked there for years, too, and everyone knows and loves him. I hadn’t seen him for a long time, while I was working in a different area of the business, but have seen him faithfully for the past several weeks right around 3 pm.
Last week, when he entered my office to reach for the garbage can, he seemed a little sad. I asked him if he was alright, and he shared with me that his wife of 60+ years had recently passed away. He broke down in tears and I told him how sorry I was. He said he was sorry he cried, and I assured him it was perfectly ok – it is ok to have good and bad days. I asked him the secret to his 60+ year marriage and he sat down in my chair to tell me that the years just flew by – he had married his best friend. We had a few moments together and I assured him that I’d be praying for him as he grieved.
He told me his wife’s birthday was coming up, as well as their anniversary, and I knew those would be hard days. Then he told me he had family coming in from all over the country to celebrate with him and remember her. He was excited about the party they would have – 150 guests – mostly family, gathering around him to support him in his and their time of loss.
Today when he came in, I told him I thought he might be taking the day off to get ready for the party. He chuckled and said he needed to come to work to get some peace and quiet, since family started coming in a few days ago. He smiled and shared that he and his grand-kids lit paper lanterns the other night, in memory of his wife. He talked about the food they were preparing, and the fact that he’s passed recipes down to his son to pass on to his kids. He said he hoped he hadn’t bored me. I assured him he had not.
I will be thinking about Joe and his family this weekend as they mourn their loss and celebrate a wildly successful marriage to a wonderful woman who has blessed me vicariously through her husband. I am thrilled that he has the support of so many family members who love him dearly.
May we all be as blessed,