Saturday, August 22, 2009

HE PAINTED A LIFE WITH PICTURES

I knew him for over fifteen years, but not very well. In retrospect, I wonder if anyone did. We worked together in the same company, and the same region. Saw each other once a month; hey how's it goin'?
He wasn't a ray of sunshine, but he was smart, well dressed, and didn't make waves. Funny at times.....well more sarcastically amusing more than funny. He called me a few times for a translation into the latest corporate directions at work. He was old school and needed someone he could be honest (and sarcastic) with without committing career suicide. I was glad to be that guy at times, although I wondered if he truly confided in me. I was always a leader of the group. Probably thought my ties with upper management were stronger than my ties with him. He was right.
We weren't really friends, more like associates, but I thought he was a good man. A family man who always displayed more than the usual amount of family photos around his desk than most. I liked that. When he talked about his family, he seemed to change in demeanor in a good way. Talk of work got him down, as if he had more than the usual managerial weight on his shoulders. people cope with pressure in different ways, I told myself. He'd survive...he always had, he always would. Sitting at his desk and peering over the vast amount of family pictures around his office wall told me what I needed to know about Mark, he had his priorities straight....do what you needed to do at work, then go home to the family he apparently loved so dearly.
I think about those pictures a lot lately. He had so much to be proud of, or so I thought. He had at least a dozen compared to my two or three...what is wrong with ME? I have to admit, I always wondered of the public photo gallery wasn't a bit over the top in the work place...
He had so much to live for. He had a lot going for him, at least personally. Professionally he had hit the ceiling. So when he left the company for something new and promising, I was glad for him. He had paid his dues, and deserved something more. Unfortunately, it didn't pan out, so he returned to us in a lesser position....for a couple of days, then he left us. And that was the last I heard from, or of Mark.
I don't know what happened first..... life gave up on Mark, or Mark gave up on life. A little of both i would suspect... I don't know the details and I am not about to ask. Wouldn't even know who to ask. We found out about his funeral in a local paper. Many attended, I could not. Too busy...besides, we weren't close. There must have been people closer to him that would pick up my slack. Someone he played golf with, knew his family, was there when he needed a friend. I hope so. It wasn't me, or anyone I knew.
He had no right to give up on life. I don't know how anyone gets to that place. He had family, I think he had friends. I knew he had people who would have helped him....I was one of them.
He had no right to give up on life, not with people in his corner unwilling to give up on him. I have no clue what led him to believe life would be better without him. I don't know what events led up to stripping him of his self esteem and self worth. I don' get it. I just don't get it. Maybe it was because he no longer had his desk with all those family pictures to look at each day.
I am afraid to die, I freely admit it. Don't want to go. I intend to go kicking and screaming. Doesn't mean I will give up my bad habits, or start eating All Bran and jogging ten miles a day, but I don't want to go.
He had no right to give up on life, but from what I heard, he did. And as fast as a bullet can pierce your body, he was gone. I don't get it. All I know is what little I have heard, and I don't have anyone to ask. Found out about his funeral services in the local paper a day before they were to be. Obviously, he had gone fifteen years working with us, and we never got to know him. Hey Mark, how's it goin'?
Who knows what is hidden behind the walls we put up as we go through life. You think you know people, you show a casual interest, and go on with your life. We walk by so many others like unfeeling zombies, thinking we know each other. Not knowing some of them need help. Never knowing until it is too late. He had no right to give up on life. Not when he had so much going for him. Not when those pictures clearly show he had others counting on him....depending on him.....loving him. He had no right to give up on life and I just don't get it. How's it goin? I wish he had really answered the question...

2 comments:

Papa Giorgio, M.A.T.S. said...

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(*Tears*)

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Anonymous said...

I am very sorry to hear of your loss. I missed the concert on Sunday night due to a funeral for a 53 year old co-worker. Perspective is everything. It is good to contemplate the temporal nature of life and the things that are of real value.

There is a quote by a Jewish king of antiquity; King Solomon. He said it is better to go to a house of mourning than to go to a house of feasting, for death is the destiny of every man; the living should take this to heart. Sorrow is better than laughter, because a sad face is good for the heart. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of pleasure.

It is curious how important testing soil or selling paint may seem at the time. I too am constantly in need of an adjustment in perspective. We have so much.

sdr