On Death

Last night, I found out that someone I knew and considered a friend, but haven’t seen in about 10 years or so, died of cancer. His name was Joe.

When I was living in Jacksonville, Florida, working as a programmer, I was very unhappy. Note that I had not been diagnosed yet with Depression. But I was bored with my job, which I had been doing for 10 years or so, with only a few changes here and there. I loved the apartment I was living in, but didn’t have any real friends there. Plus I really didn’t like a lot of things about Jacksonville (though they throw a really cool Blues festival  right next to the Beach every year, and if you are ever in the neighborhood, I recommend it).

Anyway, I got a phone call one day from a headhunter, saying that, essentially, they had a job opportunity in Columbus, Ohio, that fit my qualifications perfectly.. I said I was interested (I couldn’t wait to get out of Jacksonville, really). Joe was one of the people who talked to me on the phone. As it turned out, they didn’t want me for that particular job, but told me that they did want to hire me for a different position, but I’d have to wait a couple of months. Sure enough, 2 months passed, and they contacted me again, they flew me up to Columbus, and then hired me

Joe was a great boss, and this was the type of job that comes around once in a lifetime, if you are lucky. So I’m forever grateful for Joe hiring me.  He had a strange sense of humor, but he joked around all the time. Everyone under his watch was very casual with one another.  We all became friends, and respected one another. Joe and I didn’t agree on everything, but we had a mutual respect for one another, so our disagreements were never serious. He was a smart guy, a guy that everyone respected. So after he moved on to another job, and he contacted me to tell me that he wanted to hire me again, I had to say yes.  I felt really flattered that he wanted to hire me a second time. That job didn’t work out quite as well, partly because I wasn’t really doing any programming, and what I was working on was thoroughly frustrating and irritating and I hated it. And also partly because, through no fault of Joe’s, my life was starting to fall apart. My Dad’s deteriorating health (due to Alzheimer’s and Cancer), plus a series of unrelated events that left me feeling isolated and unhappy.

Even though I hadn’t seen Joe for 10 years, I feel bad for his family — his wife who lost a husband, and his kids who lost a father. And I feel bad for everyone else who knew him, who considered him a friend, for their loss as well.

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