Archive for August 15th, 2007

I Didn’t Know Anyone Died

August 15, 2007

Went into one of my offices today, and a lady I’ve known for nearly 30 years asked if she had shown me the latest pictures. I said I couldn’t honestly remember, so she got out her big envelope, saying these were the last pictures taken before “he” had died.

Well… not knowing anybody had died, I played dumb. The photos were beautiful professional studio pictures, some in black and white, of her son, his wife, and their 3-month old baby boy. She said she was glad he’d been talked into the shoot, even though he hadn’t wanted to spend the money.

Then she showed me pictures of the gravesite, and things she said indicated that it was her son who had died, not the grandson. Then she mentioned how her daughter-in-law hadn’t been able to send any newer pictures of “the little guy” because she was busy moving, because everything in the old place reminded her of S.

I gave J. a one-armed hug, told her they were wonderful pictures, and thanked her for sharing them with me.

As soon as I got home I Googled her son’s name–and learned that indeed he had been killed in a non-combat-related accident, in the line of duty (he was in the Army, overseas, engaged in counter-terrorism efforts). He was killed the weekend before I left town last month, and the obituary was in the local paper while I was gone. So I missed the whole thing. And by the time J. and I next saw each other, it was all over, and she probably assumed someone had told me while she was gone for the funeral.

Godspeed, S. Thank you for your service.

And I will never forget the day you and your mom and I went to the all-day Star Trek movie marathon (“Sit Long and Prosper”) on the 25th anniversary (9-7-91), in anticipation of the release of the sixth movie.

(Confidential to Bum and Jeff. No, this was not a person you guys would have known. I worked years ago with his mother.)