An elderly fellow came into the office one recent afternoon to visit. He’d been told he had about two months to live. His wife brought him in.
He sat in his wheelchair at the head of a receiving line. No cake or coffee. Just him, the carpet, the walls. He had worked security and driven the shuttle bus. I barely knew him – just the casual hello in the hall when I saw him patrolling the building, or when I took the shuttle to the corner for lunch at the Mexican restaurant.
I noticed as I stood in line, that I had left my office without my Blackberry. This seemed somehow fitting for that moment. Empty-handed seemed like the best posture as I waited for my turn to shake his hand. To shake the hand of a man who could only look back.
I learned the other day that he died, right on cue. I also learned that his wife died within a few weeks of him.
I found that it was a lot easier to sit down and write this evening.