Somber

His picture was prominently displayed on an easel as I walked into the cafeteria the other day. He looked Filipino so I paused to read the sign. It was a funeral notice with a map of the location in Daly City. I've never seen him before. So, I proceeded to the lunch counter to get food.

This morning, my colleague VR & I rode the elevator down to the basement to punch in. She wanted to get coffee before heading to the office so I accompanied her to the cafeteria. "Do you know him?" I asked her. She nodded. In fact, she went to view his body at the mortuary last night. He worked the overnight shift for 19 years as a Loss Prevention Officer. He was a smoker and was sick for a long time. He eventually died of heart failure.

"Did you know that he graduated with honors throughout school back in the Philippines?" She asked me. I shook my head. She continued, "Yeah, according to his wife, he was a Math Professor. I remember when we used to turn in our keys to him. There would be a long line at the security desk but he kept it moving because he memorized everyone's ID number."

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Yesterday, I checked my high school e-group site. It was a bit difficult to get through because of the amount of spam that has invaded the listings. As I plowed through, my eye caught a notice of someone who died. I opened the entry to read the other threads. I saw her name but I have a vague memory of her. There was a blog link so I clicked on the site. It was CZ- she was a year younger than me in school. She had leukemia and she was in Texas for treatment. I don't quite understand the details but it seemed like there were complications. She eventually died of heart failure in February of this year. There were photographs of her in the hospital bed eating, posing with her doctor, a close up of tubes and plastic pouches containing medicine that was probably being fed through her veins and an endearing portrait of her smiling in front of a cake that said "we love you." Ahh, it's that smile. That's what I remember about her. She smiled whenever we passed each other in the hallways. She was always in good spirits. As I stared at her picture in the hospital, she never lost that brightness in her despite enduring those painful treatments. It was getting late so I had to shut down my computer.

Before I went to bed, I said a little prayer for CZ, the sister in law of a good friend who is also undergoing treatment for leukemia and for the gentleman whose photograph I saw at the cafeteria.