I saw Mike Glynn, a VP, and Chris Bridgeman heading to my office. They had very worried looks on their faces: my hysterical mother had ended up on the phone with them, she not having my work number. My brother had been killed in a car accident, and I was the only one within thousands of miles.
I remember sobbing as I started to leave. Mike and Chris would not let me be alone: they assigned Marianne Sekora to be by my side until family arrived. Marianne went with me to the funeral parlor to make arrangements. She was a God-send: I had no experience in such matters. Work gave me a car for the family that was arriving – even picked them up at the airport, if I remember correctly. Work paid for the food for the wake; work had the food brought to my house and set out on a piece of plywood that the contractors brought over. Those contractors hastily connected the kitchen sink water – and then the drain pipe, forgetting it was also disconnected, after I had filled one of their tool boxes with water as it sat under the sink. My employer was amazing – and it didn’t stop there.
My mom, dad and sister arrived. After twenty years of feuding and silliness, my parents were so shocked that they actually stopped their feuding, right then and there. At the time of his death, my brother had been in the “disowned” penalty box… no matter. My mother had lost her one and only son. I remember thinking that she never showed any internal consistency: I had a copy of the hand-written latest-edition will in my office – when you love someone, you don’t go off disowning them on a whim. Not if you are a reasoned, mature adult.
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