Anyone ever have a co-worker die?

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by foidulus, Feb 5, 2008.

  1. foidulus macrumors 6502a

    Jan 15, 2007
    I'm in a weird situation at work. Recently a co-worker was murdered(in Europe no less) and there are a litany of issues both personal and professional that have to be confronted. You almost feel guilty about having to continue on working, but you know you have to. All his stuff is still in the office that he shared with 2 other office mates, so that is kind of creepy, his car is still in the parking lot etc.

    And now we have to go through his computers and find the useful files and divvy up the work all while planning a memorial. Not a good situation at all. Anyone else go through something like this? How did you move on both personally and professionally?
  2. pilotError macrumors 68020


    Apr 12, 2006
    Long Island
    It sucks and its hard, but ultimately its not about you, its about that persons family.

    We had a guy here who found out he had cancer and was gone within 2 months of the initial diagnosis. He didn't tell anyone. We only found out when he was admitted to the hospital. His family was from another country and had to set up hotel rooms, and do a viewing here before bringing his body back. He was only in his mid 30's, it was very hard on his parents.

    There was some comfort in knowing that he had friends / coworkers who would remember him and paid their respects to the family. I spent about 30 minutes speaking to his sister and by the end of the conversation, you could really feel that they were so happy you were there for them.

    Going through their PC and dividing the work is an unfortunate part of the business, but it has to be done. Ask their family if they would like to come by and pack their personal belongings or if they would like you to gather them and bring them with you. Offer to drive the car somewhere, just the little things mean so much.

    We actually got together in the guys favorite bar and anyone who wanted to get up and say a few words had the opportunity. His family was pretty blown away to hear things about him and his life / stories that would normally go untold in passing conversation.
  3. Mr.Noisy macrumors 65816


    May 5, 2007
    hmmmm a company i did some worked for a co-worker killed himself, The Secure centre we work in went through some changes, He decided to join the manned guarding side of the business for an easier life, on permanent nights, then one day he didn't report in on time, after checking his last reported location he was hanging from the rafters by his belt, i guess he was kinda depressed.........................:(
  4. yg17 macrumors G5


    Aug 1, 2004
    St. Louis, MO
    Nope. Closest I've had, and a real tragedy, was one of my manager's (best one I ever had at red-and-khaki hell, aka Target) wife was shot and killed by her friend's husband. She was at her friends house, he came home, shot his wife and her, then he took the cops on a high speed chase. His SUV flipped off an overpass onto an embankment at around 90 miles an hour, he was thrown from the window and his giant GMC Yukon fell on top of him and killed the son of a bitch. The car chase and the ending was aired on live TV, really freaky to watch.
  5. gonyr macrumors 6502

    Jul 9, 2006
    Niagara County, NY
    My situation was about fifteen years ago. The guy didn't show up for his shift, so the manager called his house and asked for him. His brother answered the phone and said, "No, he's not here. He died about two hours ago." In the end, the story turned out to be that he was removing his shotgun from the backseat of his car and it got caught, went off, and killed him with a shot to the chest. I've never believed it myself; I always thought it was a suicide.

    It was probably one of the worst days of my life. He was a really nice guy, and we were pretty good friends. The rest of us had to work the entire shift as usual, being nice and cheerful to customers, and all the while talking it over and dealing with the shock amongst ourselves in the back.
  6. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    I have had this happen but like it was said before, in the end it's not about you. I equate this to having a classmate die. Eventually you have to get over it and learn to work without him/her. If you were close then you mourn them in whatever way you see fit.
  7. jaydub macrumors 6502a


    Jan 12, 2006
    I worked weekends with an older guy at a College here. I used to turn him into my boss (who was a very good friend of his) for sleeping on the job. He was really nice and I always felt guilty about it, but I knew it wasn't right for him to fall asleep at the front desk.

    A few weeks after this, he was working alone on a Sunday and appeared to be sleeping again. Most of the staff knew he fell asleep in the chair so nobody bothered him, until a cleaning person became concerned. She checked his hands and they were purple. He had had a heart attack while sitting in the chair and nobody knew it. Turns out it was massive and even if someone had been there when it happened, he wouldn't have made it. He then suffered multiple organ failure and passed away a few days later.
  8. blue knight macrumors newbie

    Jun 7, 2007
    Atlanta, Ga
    Just lost two co-workers in January. Sucked bad. Both were great guys, working hard to provide for their families. Murdered while doing their job. After a week long man hunt we caught them all. The next week was harder, planning memorials and burying them. One day my hubby was planning the funeral routes, the next trying to keep their kids occupied at the airport as they were taking the body home to bury.

    Some times being a cop sucks, when we bury our own it is undescribable.
  9. echeck macrumors 68000


    Apr 20, 2004
    Boise, Idaho
    It was an ex co-worker, but it was someone that I knew pretty well. She was brutally murdered by her own son in January of '07, which was about four months after the last time I had seen her.

    It was all very surreal. She was such a nice woman, and she loved her son so much. He was bi-polar and never stayed on his medications. One day he was over at his dad's house and said he was going over to his mom's house. He went over there and stabbed her 32 times and beat her with a wooden baseball bat, and then went back to his dad's house and didn't say a thing.

    He was just recently sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. He was 16 when he did it.

    Sad. :(
  10. abijnk macrumors 68040


    Oct 15, 2007
    Los Angeles, CA
    Whoa, wierd, I had almost the same exact experience...

    A co-worker of mine was murdered by her bi-polar son. It was a very well publicized case and made for a very very sad and stressful work environment until the murder was solved.
  11. Jaffa Cake macrumors Core

    Jaffa Cake

    Aug 1, 2004
    The City of Culture, Englandshire
    Not an actual co-worker as such – but last year a guy we sub-contracted work out to was killed in a car crash, his car was hit head on by another driver who was on the wrong side of the road. We'd been working with him for the best part of ten years, he was only in his early thirties and left behind a two-year old daughter.

    The funeral was a weird affair, I've been to a few over the years but they'd all been for older folk – grandparents and great aunts and uncles and stuff – so the majority of people in attendance are elderly too. On this occasion the majority of people there would have been round about my age (early thirties too). A very weird, sad and moving day.

    Sorry to hear your news, foidulus.
  12. roland.g macrumors 603


    Apr 11, 2005
    One mile up and soaring
    I started at my current job just about 2 years ago next month. The lady working in the department with me of which there are just two of us had breast cancer that she had been battling for a year at that point. She just finished treatment and it was in remission. Later that year it came back and she went back into treatment and that was going well and they told her she would soon be done again. That was around this time last year. A couple of months later, she was still in treatment and going to the hospital more and more, but then would be fine, or as fine as she could be considering. By June she was looking worse but we still had reason to be optimistic. Really I couldn't understand why she was still working. She had been there about 15 years and turned 59 last summer. I guess she really wanted to feel normal. My boss kept trying to get her to train me on her position too so that I could take care of things if she got sick and so that someone else knew how to handle stuff on her side. But she kept putting it off. In late August I went away for a weekend and when I came back on Tuesday I found out she was in the hospital again and they expected her to get released that day or the next and that she might be in later in the week otherwise after the weekend. She died that Saturday. A lot of people from work went to the funeral. It was really weird. Here was someone who I really didn't have anything in common with, but every day we worked 15 ft apart and usually chatted a bit in the mornings, especially on Mondays about the weekend and stuff. And then she was gone. I didn't really get the chance to see how it would affect me personally for a little while because I immediately had to do the work of two people, but first had to figure out how her job was done. Stuff was a real mess and I was working 60+ hrs a week, and they were some pretty hard hours. Not to mention I couldn't work from home at the time and didn't have after hours access to the building. It wasn't until a month after she died that we hired and started training a new person. Since then I have taken on a lot more job responsibility and I am still behind on a lot of my work because of that time. The company will probably feel the effects of her passing for another six months. Added to all that was the stress of my wife and I having our first child 5 days before xmas. I got to take 4 days off not including xmas day. Because of the organization of our company and the job responsibilities that she and I had, it made her death have such a profound impact on the company and me, and is certainly not something I will ever forget.
  13. SthrnCmfrtr macrumors 6502

    Aug 20, 2007
    Las Vegas, NV
    That's insane.

    A couple kids I was in the Navy with (nuclear power program). It's a really messed-up situation because the school is about as imposing as it could possibly be, but of course no one -- not the instructors, not the officers, no one -- takes it that seriously. They intimidate you into staying on task, naturally, but they don't seem to realize how serious it all can seem to a kid straight out of high school. They think it's all over if they fail to succeed in one tiny and fairly insignificant training program.

    The only thing I can compare people's reactions to... a bunch of kids playing tough on the school playground and then one kid getting hurt and crying, and everyone else sobering up. It was devastating for almost everyone -- for the kids who (more often than not, judging from my circle of friends) had considered much the same thing, for the command, for everyone.

    That was about the time that I realized joining the military to add structure and discipline to my life was kind of a dumbass move. Structure and discipline are overrated.
  14. keysersoze macrumors 68000


    Jan 6, 2004
    Not a coworker, but when I was pretty young (10?) I was at a soccer camp (football for you brits, et al). One morning I was told that a kid I had played with the day before had been hit by a car and died, when he was leaving the camp to get in his mom's minivan. It was my first experience with death.
  15. .JahJahwarrior. macrumors 6502

    Jan 1, 2007
    I got a job at a Subway over winter holiday, and it turns out a guy who had worked in that store a month before had just been hit by a semi as he was riding his bike, without lights, at night, on the highway in Georgia.....he still had a paycheck waiting for him to pick up too....

    Two or three years ago, the little sister (6?) of a friend whom I'm decently close with through drama and debate, was crushed by the family ATV. The other sister survived but the younger didn't. The entire school mourned as one family...we moved several of the HUGE school events back a few weeks without question, no one complained, we just did it. (usually, moving an event is like pulling teeth) because they were supposed to be that week. I had to run the audio/lighting and stuff system at her funeral, and that was one of the hardest things I've ever done. I usually love running sound systems but that one day I would have rathered to have never been a "techie" in any sense of the word. I still cry about her death sometimes, she was just always so bubbly and full of life, you know? I like to think that we all still cry over her sometimes....
  16. iAthena macrumors regular

    Jan 22, 2008
    Several co-workers from accidents and cancer over the years. It's always an awkward situation. :(
  17. blairwillis macrumors regular

    Jul 24, 2005
    You might suggest to a supervisor or higher up that the company consider calling in a grief counselor. This might help ease the transition, and in the end provide for some stability and productivity (if the management is more focused on the $ than the people, which in some cases is unfortunately true).
  18. foidulus thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Jan 15, 2007
    As time goes on

    I find that it can be hard to try to escape the grief by keeping busy when my main activity(work) brings me directly into contact with memories of the recently departed. Never thought I could get sentimental over a hostfile, but today it happened. He always used to take care of these things, but now he isn't here so we all have to figure out what needs to be done. We are also rolling out an LDAP solution and his user name is still logged into one of the computers as he was helping me test stuff out. I have avoided logging it off, but I guess I cannot do it forever.

    Its also the little things. He was always obsessive about keeping cat5 cables neatly coiled, but now he isn't there to roll them up anymore....

    Its weird, in a lot of ways its almost like he just "quit" and went home. I mean, I almost never keep up with the people that quit and move out of the area, but I guess just knowing that I could if I so desired makes it register differently.

    But anyway, thanks for all the insight and hope we all can avoid these situations whenever possible....
  19. srt42b macrumors newbie

    Jan 17, 2007
    Although it wasn’t a co-worker, we had a DHL delivery man come in and deliver/pick-up some packages. Another employee noticed his van was still outside about 10-15 minutes later and went to check it out. Apparently, he had a heart attack and died outside. Now its kind of something that we don’t talk about any more and everyone tried to continue working. Plus the guy was pretty traumatized. If it were someone in the office, I would think it would be far more awkward.
  20. MultiM macrumors 6502


    May 9, 2006
    TO. I've moved!
    Many years ago before the markets were completely computerized, I went into work one morning and found our desk trader dead at his desk. He had been there for about an hour before he was found. Very shocking and sad. Business was obviously disrupted for a few hours, but we had to go on. He was a very nice man and we still remember him.
  21. ghostee macrumors 6502

    Feb 25, 2004
    Villa Park, IL
    When I was younger and working at a grocery store, one of the managers had a heart attack in the break room and passed away. An employee found him up there later on. I didn't really know him well, but it was still sad and a bad experience for all involved.

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