If you work for a company with a lot of employees, you most likely have a work family. If the company is small, all the employees are part of your work family. If the company is large, your department is probably your work family. If you have moved from one department to another throughout your working career, you probably have two work families (or step work family, if you will). I think you get my drift.
Work families, just like your blood relatives, come in every shape, size and color. You have some that you are extremely close to and others that you would rather not invite to your home. Just like your crazy Uncle, cousin, Aunt, etc…you also could have a crazy work family member. It just occurred to me that I might be the crazy work family member. If so, I’m doing a great job. LOL
Anyway, the point is that if you work outside of the home, you have another family that is part of your life. Actually, you probably know more about your work family’s life, than you do your cousin’s. And scary as it may seem, you spend more waking hours with your work family, than you do with your immediate family. This means that your work family probably has more influence on your life, than your blood relatives do.
With that said, let me tell you about my work family. My work family is sort of like the United Nations. There is a variety of religious beliefs, generations, cultures, geographic upbringing, etc. But there is one thing that we all have in common. We all are there for each other…and we all would love to win the lottery and quit our jobs. LOL
One of my work family members (I’ll call her Mary) passed away today. She would probably be the equivalent of an Aunt to me, if you were going by age. I didn’t work with her side by side, but being on the same office floor, day after day, makes it impossible not to get to know each other. At least it is for me, since I’m a people person. 🙂
My “Aunt Mary” was someone who always had a grin on her face. And when she laughed, she really laughed. She was raised in a different generation than I was and I would surprise her when I knew some of the “old time” sayings and songs. I loved to joke with her and she would give it right back. Her job required a lot of printing and I would tell her that if she didn’t stop, she was going to get attacked by squirrels for stealing their home. One of my nicknames for her was “Tree Killer”. LOL
It is sad to say, but I don’t remember if I told her goodbye and good luck the day before her surgery. I knew she was having surgery and would be out for a while, but I didn’t think she would have complications from it and die. Makes a person stop and think about what we take for granted.
But through the sadness and shock, I rejoice in knowing that after struggling in the hospital for about a week and a half, she is no longer in any pain. She is now walking among the angels in Heaven and has had the honor to see God. How can I not rejoice for her? She is in a much better place than I am. She has won the lottery, so to speak. 🙂
There was one other thing that made me both sad and happy at the same time. Through this ordeal, with the help of Facebook, I befriended her two daughters. I knew “Aunt Mary” had two daughters and a grandson, but I had only met them once in the office. “Aunt Mary” spoke often of all of them and was proud of them. But it wasn’t until now that I had been in touch with either of the girls. What I found, when I became friends with “Aunt Mary’s” daughters on Facebook, was that she had two very spiritual girls.
They both are younger than I am, but they have the kind of spiritual wisdom that my mother had. When they posted prayer requests on their walls for their mom, they always included praise to God. When it was becoming clear that their mother was not going to recover and was ready to leave this earth, they gave her permission, so to speak, to go home to Heaven. They told her that they loved her and would miss her, but that they would be okay. When their mom’s spirit left her body, they posted that she was dancing in Heaven alongside the angels.
They have been very strong through this whole ordeal. They will greatly miss their mother, like all children do when their mother dies. However, I pray that they can keep that faith in God that their mother taught them. I pray that they will find comfort in times of sorrow, knowing that they have their mother watching over them from Heaven above. I pray that they continue to reach out to their friends, as they have done this past week, and ask for help when it seems too hard to go on. I pray that they will keep “Aunt Mary’s” legacy alive.
So what is the moral of this story? I suppose you could say that the moral is to stop and look around you. The people you work with are your work family. You spend five days a week with them. When times are rough, they are normally right there with your blood relatives, wanting to help you in any way.
So it is your choice to be the well-loved cousin, the crazy Uncle, the nagging Aunt or the critical Grandma. You get to choose how much your work family knows about you and your immediate family. Yes, just like with every family, there will be fights, laughter, bickering, joking, crying and celebrations. That’s what life is all about.
I’m not sure what role you will choose to take, but for me, I think I’ll continue to be the well-loved, loony, cousin/sister that I feel I have always been. I will accept my role into this work family and I will be there for my family members, during good AND bad times. Cause life is too short and you never know if the last time you tell your co-workers goodbye, it might not be the last time.
You will be missed “Aunt Mary” and I am very glad to have known you.
Rest In Peace