I have lost relatives and friends before, but I wasn't in touch with them right before their death.
This time it is different.
My boss passed away last Friday and I can't seem to get any work done.
I just email people the news about his death and reply to their sad emails, consoling them. I listen to his students, colleagues and friends burst into tears and lock themselves in his office. I hear their loud cries through the walls.
There are only six of us in the office and three were gone this week so its only me and two other men. My desk is currently in the hallway between the director and the late deputy director's offices. If you want to enter the late deputy director's office, you basically have to run into me.
They come everyday to offer their condolences. Men and women...mostly young women. They break down in my office, some weep in my arms as I try to console them. I get them water and encourage them to drink to calm down. Then they unlock the door to his office and close the door behind them. I always thought that Hollywood movies over-dramatize scenes of grief, but maybe they don't. On Sunday, one of his former students came to the office. She weeped hysterically, her body was shaking uncontrollably. After a few minutes, she got up and went into his office. I really didn't know what to do.
"He was my only friend, I have noone left," she told me. She repeated this sentence for a few minutes.
I heard her say " why did you leave me, why did you have to die?"
I left her alone in his office, worried for her sanity.
I don't spin on my chair anymore. I just sit there staring at the screen. When I get up to get a glass of water, a cup of sweet tea or use the toilet, I look at the floor. His office is right behind me and I don't want to look inside.
I'm wary at first, but I feel the need to step inside his office one last time. The first thing I see is a note I put on his desk. It reads "PLEASE SIGN THIS".
A pink sticky note caught my attention. Seven names are written on it, they are divided into two groups. The first group died in the accident, the second group survived except him.