Mike is a co-worker of mine, I think his official title is Customer Service Supervisor. He started off as an associate in the shoe department and was promoted a few months ago to Area Supervisor. He certainly deserved it. He is a very hard worker and a very very nice guy. 25 years old. His wife, Brenda, was 27. So, a young couple. VERY much in love. Brenda used to come into work a lot. She came to have lunch with Mike or pick him up. We all got to know her because sometimes she would have to wait for Mike so she would chat with us. In fact, I saw her about a week ago because she came in just as Mike had to go in for a meeting. So she ended up waiting a LONG time. She was hanging around near the customer service desk and joked that she was going to hop the counter and help me out because it was SOO busy and I was all by my lonesome.
I just saw her. I just talked to her. And now she is dead???
She went into the hospital for a somewhat emergency gall bladder removal. She was in ICU while she recovered but then was doing well. I spoke to Mike when he came into work on Black Friday and she was doing good. He wasn't sure when she was coming home but she was recovering nicely.
Mike worked a crazy day on Friday and was exhausted so he called the hospital when he left work that night to check on his wife. They said she was doing fine and resting. So he decided to go home to get some sleep and see her in the morning.
3:00 in the morning he got a phone call that he hadto get to the hosptital. Brenda had a blood clot that got to her brain. And she died.
Just like that. He didn't even get to say goodbye.
Brenda had lupus. Terminal lupus (I don't know if there is a non-terminal kind). She was supposed to have some kind of surgery 6 months ago but it was too dangerous so they pushed it off. I don't know much about lupus but I guess surgery and lupus don't go well together. In this case, it killed her.
Apparently, Mike's family was not supportive of this marriage because they didn't feel he should marry someone who he couldn't spend the rest of his life with. But Brenda and Mike had found true love and went for it. They weren't on speaking terms until recently when Mike reconciled with his dad and sister. Perhaps it was just in time.
After he went to the hospital to wrap things up and get her belongings, he didn't know where to go. Brenda was his whole life. They didn't have a lot of friends because most of their time was spent together. They were used to being alone. Alone together.
So Mike came to work on Saturday. And the message written on our whiteboard telling us the news, was actually written by him. It's heartbreaking.
Yesterday, he spent the day driving around. Because he didn't want to go home. He didn't want to go home without her.
And today he came back to work. They gave him a job working upstairs in the stockroom so he wouldn't have to deal with people but he said that there were a number of times he just broke down anyway. Who wouldn't?
We put together a collection and came up with more than $800 to help him out. They were having some financial troubles to begin with and he didn't have any money for the arrangements. And of course we all signed a card telling him how sorry we are and that he is in our prayers.
But it was a rough day at work. Hard to see Mike. Hard to not be able to DO anything. Because in this situation - you can't just "make it better." They are having the funeral on Friday but it is a couple hours away in Ohio. That is where she is from although her parents passed away years ago. The funeral is in the afternoon so there is no way I can make it and get back in time for Shabbas either. So I feel bad. I would like to be there. "Like" isn't really the word I should use.
I found Mike as I was leaving work to tell him that if he needs anything he should call. And I wasn't just saying that. We don't live too far away from each other so I said he should come over sometime this week or next week for dinner or just to hang out. He and Shu could play X-box together. Just so he can be with people. Not alone in his apartment. I gave him my number and hope he takes me up on the offer. He needs to be around people. And know there ARE people that care.
Seeing him like this really makes me realize how important sitting Shiva is. While I hated it at the time, it let me mourn, the way one needs to mourn for someone close who passes away. When my father died, it felt like my world was caving in. I didn't understand how life could go on. And I needed that week to sit in my house and grieve. I needed to be surrounded by family and friends and focus on my loss.
I am sorry that Mike is not surrounded by family and friends. I am sorry that he can't take a week off from life to sit in his house and just mourn. Be surrounded by his loss. Going back to work and trying to live life normally is too hard. But if we at Kohl's are his support system then I am glad that we can be there for him. I hope he realizes how much we care and how much Brenda will be missed.
I pray that G-d will help him through this hard time and one day, he will move on and get remarried and have children. He will make a great father. I pray this doesn't break him. And I don't think it will. He is strong and I applaud his courage in marrying Brenda. I am glad he was able to spend the few years he did with her. Because they had found true love.
"Better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all."
My thoughts and prayers are with you, Mike.
Rest In Peace, Brenda.