So I woke up around 7:45am this morning. It was a dark and (very) rainy morning in the Montreal area, complete with lightning. I started the coffee machine and then washed up and logged on to check my email and a few sites. I saw my mom online on MSN / Skype…

I was already sufficiently stressed out because I’m leaving for Germany in a few days, and there were plenty of personal and work issues to handle before I left.

One thing I was reassured about was that a friend will be staying at my place while I’m away, taking care of my cat, getting rid of the junk mail at the front door, and (hopefully) keeping my flat relatively clean. (Ya, right!) Now I just have to figure out how we’ll get to the airport… perhaps by taxi, maybe by shuttle, etc, since I don’t think most of my friends are available logistically to give a lift.

So, in the midst of the downpour and dark skies, the phone rings. Odd, it was around 8h30am or so – early for a phone call. I could see from the caller ID that it was my mom.

She announced to me that my Oma (term of endearment in regional German for grand-mother) had died.

Oma was 97 (just recently) but the last few years were filled with severe health problems, suffering and what happens when the body starts to shut down.

Nonetheless, I was quite heartbroken as this trip to Germany was, primarily, to see my Oma one last time and have a sense of closure. On the other hand, it’s a somewhat selfish thing, since Oma was suffering greatly in the last few years and this was more of a blessing than a tragedy.

Fighting tears, I decided to go to work nonetheless and it was a tough day to say the least. I didn’t do any critical server work (or gaffes) as I was obviously pretty distracted. I did manage to do a fair bit of productive (i.e. non-destructive) work in meetings with colleagues both in person and/or via Gotomeeting and Webex, teleconferences, etc.

I wrote to my HR advisor and my manager to see if I could change part of my vacation leave into bereavement leave and that works out.

In retrospect, my sadness was primarily because I didn’t get to see her alive one last time and that was somewhat selfish. Ultimately, she had been in declining health for many years and her passing was deliverance from her suffering. She is now in a better place.

Auf Wiedersehen, Oma. Ich liebe Dich!

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