Focusing on the Family…

…The Extended Version                                 

Perhaps, this commentary will be long and extended.  I don’t know, I am just starting out.  However, the focus is on my “extended” former work family.

I lost a former co-worker yesterday.  She passed away after a half year battle with lung cancer. While I wouldn’t say Marie and I had a tight, on-going friendship, there still is and has been a special place in my heart for her, as well as other members of my Metroparent family. Read more…

Marie was hired only a few short months after I was back in 2000.  She, the creative director, whose talent was most evident from the reputable front covers of the monthly magazine.  And me, one of three full-time advertising sales reps.  In all, there were only about a dozen employees that pulled together and brought to the market several publications and special events…all women, with the exception of the head of our team, our publisher, “the man”.

It was a great place to work for many reasons.  Not only did we have the best products to sell at the time, we had some amazing people.  Not always a perfect office, however, there existed a code of respect and fun that superseded any short-term disagreements or animosity.

Between Marie and I existed a common bond….”Neighbor Dave”, her next door neighbor.  After having my husband work on her house,  her “Neighbor Dave”, became our “Neighbor Dave”, my husband’s new business partner.  Oh the stories we would tell!  Then, there was a couple of codes only she and I shared: “W” for when our fashions, including fingernails, were purchased at Walmart, and “JDBJ”…okay, there were a few others clued in on the latter.  I will NOT disclose.

Toward the latter part of the last decade, our happy little family, started to disassemble, most on their own accord.  One by one.  Finally, it was my turn.  I got the boot.  Yup, fired.  Okay, we’ll use the more p.c. phrase, which is what was used on me “you are being separated from the company, due to the need to reduce our workforce”. It was a beautiful August day, and after hugging a couple of my co-workers, I needed to exit the building.  Walking out out onto State Street and across the road to the parking slab, I heard a voice calling my name….”Oh my gosh, Paula”…it was Marie.  The look of shock.  Another family member gone.

Because of what I was up to (Just Add Kids) and yes, I was grieving a bit, I kept things/communication pretty low-keyed.  A few months later, our former editor hosted a great reunion  “Metroflashback” party in November of 2009.  Great time!  Hoping this isn’t insensitive, yet I store memories in my email.  Here is the email from Marie to the group.  She recapped our evening and her feelings:

OMGOSH! What a blast!!! Edie what a great party...

Anne-so GREAT to see you-you look great and I¹m so happy for you in so many
ways- you are very brave to move away from home and have new experiences...
Erica- You know how I feel about you! Miss you all over again!
Edie- You are still in the lead for BEST EDITOR of metroparent
Paula-It was Gods plan for you to get laid off- you look so relaxed and seem
so into family life.
Todd-The best boss ever. We worked hard, we had fun and we were HAPPY. Not a
lot of people get together years after like this. ( We really did work!)
I¹m sure we totally embarrassed you! Sorry. Lori looks so thrilled in that
last picture!
Nancy- You family is beautiful! Once I borrowed you glasses and saw that it
wasn¹t Anne¹s boyfriend!
Barb- WILD WOMAN! Be careful!
Jackie and Becky... Don¹t ever miss another party like this- Too funny!!!!


Another "family member" responded:"I agree it was a wonderful party. I haven't laughed that hard in a long time. 
All the great memories made us all realize how lucky we were to work at 
Metroparent and great co-workers we had. Boy, we sure did have fun (and like 
Marie said...we really did work)."

When we found out that Marie was diagnosed with lung cancer in early October, our family pulled together, headed by matriarch Erica, and delivered food, gifts, movies, magazines, letters, and poured out endless prayers.  We communicated, probably weekly, with updates Erica received from Marie’s sister.  Some good news, some bad news.  Setbacks since Christmas time, and finally the word about a month ago that her time left on earth would be brief.

In the last couple of weeks, our mp family members created individual squares for memory prayer blanket, which has yet to be finished.  I got to see Marie for the first time in over a year last Wednesday and again, this past Sunday.   She was staying at a beautiful hospice facility, situated on a curvy parkway.  These both, I was told, were “good” days for Marie.  On Wednesday, she was sitting up, something she hadn’t done for a couple of weeks.  She was excited for her sister to visit, so that she could show her this victorious feat. Her dad strolled her outside in a portable bed.  She referred to it as her “cadillac”. Oddly enough, in the midst of this run of yucky weather, those two days  were gorgeous….amazingly, spiritually sunny and warm out.

As I reflect back on my few last chats with Marie,  in the last year and a half, I am reminded of the sun, a source of energy and warmth.

I’ll see you later, Sunshine.  I know you moved on peacefully.


1 Response so far »

  1. 1

    mollie bartelt said,

    So sorry. Will keep all in my prayers.

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