Yesterday I was busy in my office most of the morning and hadn’t had a moment to poke my head out of my door until I was headed out for a lunch appointment. As I did, Sandra stopped me. She knew she wouldn’t see me again before she left for the day, and she needed to tell me something important. My luncheon guest was waiting in the hall, so there wasn’t a lot of time, and there really wasn’t any way to prepare me for what she was about to say. “I need you to know something. Marla died.”
I took a deep breath, offered a prayer of thanksgiving for her life and for her family and wiped the tears that had spontaneously started to come, as Sandra apologized for telling me so quickly (and necessarily).
When I returned from lunch I went first to the kitchen and then to the CSK offices. The pain was visible on everyone’s face. It was not only “as if” a member of their family had died–it was in fact the case– a member of the CSK family HAD died. Marla’s illness had been fast– a matter of months. For someone as vital and loving and giving as she was, there is a profound sense of shock that is added to this deep pain and loss.
But here is what impressed me so much yesterday afternoon as I stood in the kitchen, and again in the office, wishing desperately that there was something I could say (the best I could manage was, “I’m so sorry…”): even in the face of extraordinary pain and loss every single one of the staff did what they do best, yesterday– they served those in need in our community, just as Marla did. I see the folks at CSK do this every day, but yesterday it was a tribute to Marla, and very, very moving.