Tuesday, October 25, 2011

How Fleeting Life Can Be...

Yesterday a coworker’s husband died while diving.  He was 35 and they had been together since 9th grade.  He also left a 7 year old daughter.  I didn’t know him but I’ve known his wife for years and his mom used to be a state commissioner and frequented the AG’s office quite a bit when I worked there.  His dad is the chancellor at UAA, SE and he is often heard on the radio or on TV.   I wasn’t close friends with any of them but his death affected me deeply.
I think about his wife and how she got out of bed that morning and did all the routine things one does to get ready for work.  How is must have felt like an typical, ordinary Monday morning, the knowledge that she was stepping into the worst day of her life blissfully ignorant to her.  Her husband was probably already gone, he was working as a deck hand that day and they were going sea cucumber diving.  She was probably feeding her daughter and getting her ready for school.  When she got to work she probably visited with coworkers  and inquired about the weekend that had just passed before she settled into her desk to begin work.
It probably couldn’t have been anything but a regular day at work before two JPD officers appeared at her desk that day asking to speak to her in private.  I imagine anyone seeing them walking in prayed a quick prayer that those officers weren’t there looking for them.  Whose desk they stopped at was a gruesome, random chance.  Another woman in the office saw them and had her own flashbacks, these officers had appeared at her desk one day to give her the news her daughter was dead.  I think of all the military spouses who have looked up to see uniformed men approaching their doorstep and want to run back in time and make it stop.  As she walked to the conference room, I can’t imagine what his wife was thinking.  Who in her family could it be?  Her mother?  Her father?  A sibling?  I’m sure her mind wouldn’t allow her to think it was her husband or her daughter.   Perhaps she hoping someone just got arrested before she realized they wouldn’t be paying an office visit to share that information.  It’s those visceral moments in life that tend to define us.   You become who you are because of the results of these moments.  It will always be a part of your history.  Someday, she will find a new normal…she may even find love again and remarry but she will always be a woman who found herself in front of two officers on that rainy October morning in Juneau.
I can’t begin to imagine what she is going through today.  To wake up (if she managed to sleep at all) and realize she is a widow.  That the love of her life and the father of her child is gone from this earth, that the plans she had for the weekend and for next month and for the rest of her life no longer apply.  I  am overwhelmed for her, thinking of decisions that have to be made, vacations that have to be cancelled, dreams that have to be rewritten.  One life ended, many lives interrupted. 
On Facebook this morning she pleaded with people to hug those you love and love so hard you have no regrets.  She said she had no regrets, because of the love they shared.  She assured people she would be fine with him as their angel watching over them.   She also knows the Lord and I’m positive he is holding her close, comforting her and giving her peace as only a loving Father can do.

Monday, October 10, 2011


I  decided I better make a blog entry before I forgot how.  Seriously, I just haven’t had any writing inspirations.  I was going to blog about how horrible my old job was but my mind isn't ready to go back there so instead I’ll write about my new job.
On September 26, 2011 I started a new job with the Department of Health & Social Services, in the Grants and Contracting Section.  My title is Grants Administrator I, which is a range 14 but after a year you flex to a II, which is a range 17 so that’s a nice little jump.  I am a 14J though, so that’s the equivalent of a 17C so my jump won’t be too significant but that’s okay.  At least I won’t be in longevity anymore. 
Although I am called a Grants Administrator that is not what I do.  What is do is function as a leasing officer.  I am the only one in the section that deals with leases and DHSS has about 80 active leases in 30 different communities.  The Division of General Services has the procurement authority to lease,  DHSS does not, so I am the liaison between DGS and the our divisions.  Whenever anyone  wants to move  entirely or just  gain or lose space,  I am called upon.  When a lease is not renewed, I am called upon.  I keep a huge spreadsheet that maintains all the current numbers and keep the divisions up to date on what square feet they have and what they are paying.  Whenever construction work needs to be in the buildings we own and occupy, I hire contractors and engineers and abatment people. 
In a year’s time, I will go before a couple of department people and be tested.  You get all the questions beforehand and can have whatever notes and written material you choose to have with you but it’s still a test and an oral one at that.  Because I don’t work with either grants or contracts (although I understand I will eventually be doing some contract work) I will have to study hard.  Most people can rely on their experience but I won’t have that advantage.
I am really excited for this opportunity.  I am way out of my comfort zone and my skill set but it’s exciting and new.  Some days when I get home at night my brain hurts!   My supervisor is brand new as well so she isn’t much of a resource for  me but the section chief is training me and my predecessor is also a great help.  I am writing a desk manual as I learn so at the person following me will have some kind of guide. 
The people here are great.  There is very little turnover and everyone seems to be truly happy in the positions.  The division I came from was just the opposite…..people were miserable and demoralized and in the last month about half the staff quit so that staff that is left is carrying an extra heavy load.  It’s  amazing what a toll that takes on people individually.  I feel so much lighter and happier and ever so grateful.   I am thankful for fresh starts.