Miss Phyllis

Thursday Night
My beautiful, gentle, and competent co-worker, Phyllis, died today. I am so sad. She was 60 years old, a quiet, non-pretentious soul. The tragedy that has enveloped us today is because Phyllis lived alone and had not come to work, nor answered her telephone all day yesterday, so two co-workers went to her house today and with the help of a neighbor, broke down her door and discovered her in a coma in her house. They took her to the hospital but she died of cardiac arrest this afternoon. My other co-worker, Kay, who was the one who went to Phyllis’ house, had lost her son suddenly a few months ago. This would be too much for any one person to handle in such a short period of time, I worry.
Today Kay was intermittently hysterical and calm, desperately trying to locate Phyllis’ next of kin, a sister and a brother. Kay is a devout Christian, one of the few people I have ever met in my life, who has been able to make sense of life and its tragedies. When we went to her son’s memorial service, in the tradition of many African American congregations, there was beautiful music in the program. When they sang the first song, she lifted her arms heavenwards, and started swaying and moving to the beat of the music, singing along, making me cry uncontrollably at the solace she alone seemed to find in her beliefs in dealing with her loss.
Tomorrow I will have to go take care of our staff’s morale and help find a way to cope in the workplace. My boss is on a much-deserved vacation, and what a fine time it is for me to be “in charge.” I will do it for Phyllis, though, so unassuming and gentle she was, my friend, whom every time I addressed as Miss Phyllis, would turn around with an amused smile and look at me, the manic foreign lady, with a smile and say: “Yes?”


Assal said...

I am deeply sorry for the loss that you and your office feel today.

Phyllis is now in a better place.

serendip said...

My heartfelt condolences. May God bring all of you peace and understaning. Grief is the price we pay for love--Queen Elizabeth

God bless her soul.

Nazy said...

Thank you Assal and Serendip. This morning we gathered and talked about Phyllis. About 40 people showed up. I read some Jebran Khalil Jebran to them, the chapter that deals with Joy and Sorrow, and said some words. Others said things, too, some religious, some personal, and some spiritual. It was a beautiful and simple memorial.

Fariba said...

Nazy Joonam,

Sorry about your friend and coworker. May she rest in peace.