The Janitor’s Wife

I found out today a close friend of mine at work, the janitor that comes by daily at 5pm to collect trash and recyclables, that his wife has recently passed away. From what I’ve observed in the past three years, he is an easy going guy with a quiet demeanor who utters the words “Hey Chief” every time I run into him.

Even though the number of words from our longest conversation is probably shorter than the previous paragraph, I think of him as a dear friend. When he broke the news to me, it felt as if he considered me as a good friend as well. I couldn’t begin to imagine what he’s been going through, having lost a love and a friend that’s been with him for 28 years in marriage. At that moment, tasks that was so urgently awaiting my attention didn’t matter much anymore…

As I stood there on the 4th floor balcony along with my friend staring at the ground floor, I found myself at a lost for words. I reminded myself from a recent article that sometimes you just need to be there for people who are hurting. Because, there is not much else you can do when words fail.

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1 Response to “The Janitor’s Wife”


  1. 1 Da-Gau JamesC August 24, 2007 at 10:29 am

    wow. probably can’t recapture that moment, but perhaps asking him about his wife and what she was like when she was alive might help. A fine balance, you want him to remember the good/great qualities at the same time minimizing the thought that she’s not here anymore….


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