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I Cared

Story ID:8447
Written by:Michael Timothy Smith (bio, link, contact, other stories)
Story type:Musings, Essays and Such
Location:Caldwell ID USA
Person:Widows and Widowers
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She was my manager. We’ve never met. She lives halfway across the United
States from me. Our first conversation was my phone interview.
Based on that call, she hired me.

For six months, I worked on the projects I was responsible for. There were daily
and weekly conference calls. They were our only contact.

In October of 2011, I learned her husband had passed away, after a short battle
with cancer.

I reached out to her, “I understand what you are going through; I’ve been there.
In fact, both my wife and I have lost a spouse. I wish I could promise you’ll get over your
grief soon, but I can’t.

‘It’s not going to be easy. The first year is the hardest. Every holiday holds a
special memory. Thanksgiving will be your first trial. You’re going to remember all the
special times you had with your husband on that day and want to hide to cry in private.

‘Your friends and family will say you need to move on. They won’t understand
until they face what we have.

‘You face a year of firsts: first birthday without them, first Thanksgiving, first
Christmas, etc.

‘If you need to talk to someone, I am here anytime you need me.”

She politely emailed, “Thank you.”

That was it. She said no more.

Thanksgiving passed, then Christmas. I never mentioned it again.

Valentine approached. The day before “The day of Love”, she sent an email to
our group. “I’m not feeling well and will be out of the office tomorrow.”

I knew.

She needed to be alone on a day that was once special between her and her

Over the next year, when she and I were alone on a conference call, waiting
for others to join, I ask, “How you doing?”

“There are good and bad days, but overall, I am doing OK. It’s hard on the
kids though. They just lost their grandfather to the same cancer. They hurt. I stay
strong for them.”

It was less than six months after their father died that they learned their
grandfather was dying from the same cancer.

I was recently put on furlough for an indefinite period. Out of work and
sitting at home, she emailed me. “We’re doing everything we can to get you back,

‘I never thanked you, Mike. Your support over the last year means a lot to me.
You were there when I needed someone who understood.

‘Thank you!”

I never pushed myself on her – never dictated how she had to grieve. I was just
there to lean on when and if she needed it.
She knew I cared.

Michael T. Smith