Tuesday, September 8, 2015

It's about family

My phone rang early in the day.  It was my friend Carol calling to tell me her mother had died.
It was expected. Her mom was elderly and in hospice but still.  She said she had spent part of the day yesterday with her mom and when she left to get something to eat, that's when mom passed.  It so often happens that way.
Carol and I became close friends when we both became involved in the union. She was, and continues to be, my political liaison of the Backus Nurses.  She has faced death many times in her role as a nurse. It's part of what we do but it's different when it's your own family. 
All I could do was listen.
I cleared my schedule so that I could go to the funeral tomorrow.

Latter in the day, our meeting was interrupted with the news that Bruce had died.
Bruce was president of the Norwalk Teachers. He was too young. 
I came to know him about a year ago, much less time than most others in our union, and yet he found a way in that short time to find a place in my heart. 
He was a true union brother and faught fiercely for his teachers. 
One story is of him being in a group of people and the comment being made that if, in negotiations, there was a dollar on the table, Bruce would get 99 cents of it. To which Bruce matter of factly replied, "If there was a dollar on the table, I'd ask for more because if there's a dollar on the table, there's more in their pocket."
That was Bruce.

I didn't know Bruce's biological family but I know his Labor family and my thoughts turned quickly to them, especially to those who have known him longer than I.  

As an emergency room nurse I dealt with death often, even being the person giving the bad news.  It was always difficult but I guess no matter how young, or how tragic, I always tried to remember that my patient was in a better place.  
It was harder with the families.

I know hat Bruce is in heaven, probably negotiating a better deal for Carol's mom, and I know that those of us still here will carry on, it's what we do.
But we're family, and it's always toughest on the families. 

To all my brothers and sisters in AFT and all of Labor I send my prayers and my love tonight.

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