He was such a quiet and pleasant colleague
He was very quiet, maybe sometimes too quiet, introspective, but also very pleasant. Never a bad word, very accommodating, always supportive, very helpful, always wanted to please everyone – but he often probably did not think enough about himself. He was very sensitive, perhaps too sensitive – the pressure not endured so well, they say. On the other hand his sensibility was probably the basis for his competence and the reason for his excellent results at work. Now and then he was absent – he did not feel so well. When you looked into his sad eyes, you often had the impression he would bear the burden of the whole world on his shoulders. It was not easy to coax something out of him – when asked what concerned him, everything was always fine.
But a few days ago our usually reliable quiet colleague disappeared, nobody could contact him. First the hope was that he has indulged himself with a break over the weekend. But then he did not come to work on Monday.
Now there stands a candle, flowers and the picture of our quiet colleague on his desk and a lot of crying people.
WHY or WHAT FOR?
WHY did he do that? Have his dark thoughts overcome him? Could he see no light ahead? Did the pressure grow too much? Could he not carry the responsibility that had been entrusted in him or which he had put on himself? Is anyone to blame? … We will never know and answers to these questions will lead to no satisfactory conclusion.
FOR WHAT is the death of our quiet, pleasant colleague, good? Do we think more about our own role? Should we choose our words more wisely? Should we react more sensitively? Should we listen better in future? Should we avoid that the pressure is getting too much? Should we look after ourselves better? Should we be more conscious of the signals from our body? Should we displace the doggedness and replace it with relaxed openness? Should we look at our fellow man with more mindfulness? …
In a few years’ time how can we explain to the now seven month old daughter of our pleasant, quiet colleague FOR WHAT had her dear father died?
Do we rush back to our projects and let ourselves be taken over by everyday life? Do we chase again after deadlines and working without thinking about the consequences? Do we try to continue to withstand the pressure and pretend we are strong and inviolable? Do we continue on the hamster wheel, instead of walking in nature and provide some stress relief? Do we continue to chase our careers, whatever the costs to ourselves or our families are? Do we continue to neglect the balance between cognitive challenge, emotional balance and physical fitness? Are we hiding still behind a mask whose face is seen rather than showing our true face? Do we still continue to play the tough guy who in fact can no longer bear his own reflection and in the evening falls totally exhausted into bed? …
His partner, his parents, his brothers, his friends and his colleagues are in mourning. His little daughter luckily does not understand what has happened – not yet – and her care-free happiness gives the rest of the family the hope they need.
How can we avoid this in future that people cry so much out of mournfulness?
We must not only avoid unnecessary additional pressure, but always question whether we can take existing pressure away. We have to listen better and be more conscious in order to understand our quiet colleagues. But we must also pay attention to the noisy colleagues who often play down their worries. We need to train managers to enable them to lead people responsibly with understanding and sympathy, and thereby also look out for themselves. We have to accept that humans are a complex work of art and the different roles should not be considered in isolation. We have to protect ourselves, to be honest with ourselves and listen to our inner self. We must stop trying to cope with all rational thoughts, but must allow our emotions to unfold. We must create an environment that allows this. We must say what we are worried about and not be afraid to ask for help. We have to put our arms more often around each other. We must …
We must ensure that a father lives to enjoy the occasion when he can lead his daughter down the aisle and as a grandfather pass on his wisdom to his grandchildren.
Are you now sad – do you now have goose bumps – are you shocked about what you read – are you furious – do you feel responsible – do you recognize yourself – do you think it’s inappropriate that this story is told here? It is a true story which has recently taken place, even though not all facets of what happened have been covered and illuminated.
The quiet, pleasant colleague was my little brother, who is now without pain and suffering on the other side of the light.
I do not want this letter to be understood as an accusation, because there is no one guilty person, blame leads to nothing and above all it does not bring my brother back. But I have no desire to stay silent, we must recognise that silence and taboo is part of the problem. We still find it easier to acknowledge physical illness – but we find it hard to admit mental suffering with the same understanding. I want to shake up and raise people’s awareness. I consider it my obligation to make sense of the death of my little brother, which is not really easy.
If my thoughts help to ensure that any person affected cries out for help, that he overcomes his embarrassment – that any of you recognises a suffering silent colleague – that some executives delegate with more awareness – that we again see more of our fellow man, not just targets, projects and deadlines – that we start talking to each other more and listen again … – then a piece of this SENSE will be seen and felt!
I thank you for supporting me in this search for MEANING and therefore be pro-active in taking part in shaping a more SYMPATHETIC, VALUABLE and LIVABLE world. Merci!
And to all those, where the pressure is too great at the moment, who are often sad, who feel hopeless, who do not know how to go forward and struggle in darkness: Trust a good friend, let your family be your support, release yourself and cry out your grief, move outdoors and let yourself warm-up by the sun, notify me, … – there is always a LIGHT at the end of the tunnel.
Decide on LIFE!