Thursday, September 15, 2005

Colleague's Death

I knew the news had got out when I went into the pantry early one morning and the tealady was all red-eyed and teary. [Ok ok, maybe tealadies are slightly more emotional since the one at my last company cried when I told her I'd quit, but still...] She later took the rest of the day off.

In the afternoon, the CEO sent out a email to the whole company, officially informing them of the death of GCA. The whole floor was quiet except for the clicking of computer mice as colleagues opened the email one by one. Then there was subdued sniffles from the cubicles and then murmurs and noseblowing.

GCA had been with the company for decades, the CEO wrote. He had an incisive brain and was a great solver of problems. He was helpful and cared for his staff. He was dedicated to the company. We will all miss him.

And so a wonderful long life was reduced to a few vague lines (probably through no fault of the CEO but due to the inability of language to express exact emotions). His wake was reduced to an occasion for much politicking from the size of the flower arrangements sent to who went with whom on which day. But as his son related the deathbed events, certain well-coiffed ladies whose strong faces have adorned the covers of business magazines were tearing uncontrollably.

Were they crying at the suddenness of the death? Were they reminiscing the times they had with him and sobbing because they would miss him? Would they have felt as strongly if he had retired or gone on a long holiday? Or were they crying for themselves: the fear and finality of death that would surely come for them as well as their loved ones?

A secretary lived for several weeks after his death always expecting to hear his trademark deep booming voice heralding his approach. I fought back tears knowing that he would never sneak up to our chips and nuts stash to snack late in the afternoon nor will he and I ever take turns at the balcony, he to smoke and I to chat on the mobile nor will I ever get to talk to him about God, which I had been waiting for an opportunity to do.

It was whispered again and again after the news broke: suddenly, after dinner, while on holiday, he collapsed and was gone. Just suddenly.

One of the main themes of Revelation is all too real. And the terrible warnings of the Boxing Day tsunami or Hurricane Katrina...that although the things of this world seem so real and so concrete, they will soon be swept away, whether by natural disasters like tsunamis or hurricanes, or by our deaths. In a flash, in a twinkling of an eye, the LORD will come again.
"Just as it was in the days of Noah, so also will it be in the days of the Son of Man. People were eating, drinking, marrying and being given in marriage up to the day Noah entered the ark. Then the flood came and destroyed them all.

"It was the same in the days of Lot. People were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building. But the day Lot left Sodom, fire and sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all." (Luke 17:26-29)
Will we be prepared to meet him then? Or will we be destroyed?

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home