I wrote a blog entry on Thursday night but decided to wait and post on Friday so I could read it with eyes that weren't tired and hadn't spent all day staring at a computer screen. I talked about the last West African Dance class until September, how I was finally caught up on my Doctor Who watching for the new season, and I mention a few other topics related to my goal in general.
I hit snooze a few too many times on Friday morning so the post was going to have to wait until Friday after work. I wandered into work, coffee in hand, and sat at my desk to start the day. It was Friday; I was happy. Due to illness and holidays, I was the only person in my mini-unit (we have two different units which make up one unit although we do completely different jobs) who had been doing her job for more than a month, so I was filling in with other people's jobs that I don't normally do anymore. It was a nice change of pace and I settled into was should have been a relatively easy day. Then at 9:30, our manager's manager called the entire department to the floor.
"I wanted to let you know that a member of our organisation was killed in a car accident last night. I don't think many of you would know her because she's a completely different department. It was C." I knew C. My mini-unit worked with her unit all the time. She was part of the call center that made up our Help Desk for the pharmacies. I remember stepping back into the wall and saying 'no' loud enough for people to turn and look at me. Then all I remember was tears.
C and I weren't great friends, it's not a huge personal loss directly to my life, but she was one of those hundreds of people you see every day who helps make life a little brighter that you just start to take for granted. The Friday before, C and I were in the lunch room at the end of our shifts and she commented that I had a big smile on my face.
"Of course I'm smiling. It's Friday! Bring on the long weekend!"
"What does that say about us that we live for the weekend?"
"That we need better jobs that we like."
"True, but as long as you're enjoying the life you have outside of work, isn't that what really matters?"
"A fun life outside of work helps you enjoy work until life becomes a permanent weekend."
"I meant retirement, but sure, death." She laughed at the misunderstanding.
"Death: the ultimate permanent weekend. Anyway, enjoy your long weekend."
"You too, C."
That was it. That was our last actual interaction with each other other than quick smiles and waves in the hall. The conversation kept coming back to me on Friday. I took a walk to compose myself and I kept thinking about it. It was nothing profound, nothing that we haven't all said to ourselves, our family, our friends, our coworkers a million times before, but I've never encouraged people to live like each day's their last actually thinking that it might be. At one point, I found myself staring at our new automated towel dispenser in the bathroom remembering another discussion about how the five years of crappy towel dispensers which were always breaking were to ensure we really appreciated the good ones once we finally got them. 'At least she lived long enough to use the new dispensers' I thought, and then I started crying and laughing so hard that someone came to see what all the noise was about. I don't know how I made it through Friday but I did albeit with a puffy face and red eyes.
C was good at her job, friendly and always up for a laugh. You couldn't ask for a better co-worker. I didn't know her family, but I know that she leaves behind a husband and two teen aged children. She will be dearly missed by so many of us now that she is on her ultimate permanent weekend.