One Crazy Fiber Lady

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

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A sad loss

My boss died today.

His name was Bill.

While I didn't always like him as a manager, I always respected him and more importantly, I called him friend. He was a good man. Prior to a career in computer programming he had a full career as a professional musician playing the french horn in the Philharmonic. He was kind and giving with a warm smile and a twinkle in his eyes.

Unfortunately he had health issues that I never fully understood but serious enough that he was on the transplant list for new lungs. He had a portable oxygen tank at all times. One Monday morning last month, our director came to tell me that Bill was on the table right then. We all tried to work, keeping Bill in our thoughts and prayers while we waited for word. It came that afternoon, he was off the table, in recovery, the double lung transplant surgery having gone well. Within a few days he was resting comfortably out of Surgical Intensive Care and in his own room. While several co-workers went to visit one afternoon, I unfortunately could not as I had a cold. I know he was on many drugs and that hospitals are very germy places, but I thought it best to keep my germs to myself. Within two weeks of the surgery, he was home. I even got an email from him no more than two weeks after his surgery as he commented on my status report for the week. The man enjoyed his work. Last week came more emails from Bill. He was feeling good, walking without breathing issues for the first time in a very long time and just feeling very good. He had much to be thankful for this year.

While his death was not entirely unexpected, I know I had high hopes considering how very well he had been doing, it is very sad. I'll miss his stories at lunch. I'll miss his cheerful wave down the cubicle aisle as he spotted me in the morning. I'll miss the twinkle in his eye as he told a particularly goofy joke. He was a good man and a kind man. I'll miss him.

Goodbye Bill.


Blogger Amie said...

I'm so sorry for your loss. What a sweet testement to him, I hope you know that he knows now everything you wish you'd told him.

I'll be thinking of you...

December 1, 2004 at 9:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


What a lovely tribute! I am so struck by your use of the word twinkle, because that is exactly the word I seemed to focus in on when I wrote an entry in my own journal about him this morning on the bus. And, I did not know Bill nearly as well as you, nor were we particularly close. I did not know, for example, he played French horn in the Phil. As a former flutist and pianist, I wish I would have known; would have had a chance to talk to him about that. French horn is the coolest of instruments -- tempermental as all hell -- but so lovely to hear when it is played right. And, obviously he played it right to have been in such an elite orchestra. Wow.

An excerpt from my own journal entry:

Yesterday, Bill Hamilton died. I can say 'died' so plainly, because we were not particularly close. When my father died, I could not say the word. He had passed, he was gone, he did not make it.

Bill had a bum lung, that much I know. He would walk around work with a tube in his nose and a little canister of oxygen attached to his hip like a belt wallet. He seemed to do well enough with it. He was positive and warm, and always had a chipper hello and a smile at the ready. He wore cowboy boots and faded jeans. His eyes were watery blue and he had a moustache - something you don't see often these days.

I'm sorry for his family. He seemed young. It seems like I passed him in the hallway just yesterday or the day before. I seem to recall that I had to struggle out of my depressed state to even mutter hello, but he -- he had that twinkle at the ready.

I feel guilty because sometimes, when I was around him, I would grow agitated at hearing the electronic sucking in and out of air, so reminiscent of my father's last days hooked up to the respirator. Not always, but sometimes I resented the reminder of how my dad had died. I had no right, but that is just the way it was.

I'm sorry, Bill. You always had that twinkle at the ready, that wonder stuff of life. Teach me how to reach it.


December 2, 2004 at 11:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Risa, I am so sorry! The loss of anyone with "twinkle" as an appropriate descriptive word is a loss to the world in general. Thank you for your tribute so that those of us who never met Bill could at least get a sense of his happy nature.


December 3, 2004 at 8:17 AM  

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