Monday, January 16, 2012

A Compassionate Boss Gone Too Soon

Odded, center, with his wife and daughter.
I found out yesterday that my former boss--who I worked under during two years of breast cancer treatment and breast reconstruction--suddenly died.

He was just 37 years old and leaves behind a wife and three daughters ranging from three years old to 10. Given how young he was, his sudden death remains a mystery. The shock and grief I feel over his passing has brought back a flood of memories of how much he helped me during my battle with cancer.

I will never forget our first discussion about my cancer diagnosis back in March 2008. He assured me that I could take time off and go on disability while I underwent chemo, surgery and radiation. But I said no, I had every intention of continuing to work. Yeah, you could say I was naive.

That said, when I underwent chemo for 16 weeks, he let me go home early on Fridays as soon as the nausea kicked-in from the Wednesday sessions. When I had to go through all of my surgeries, he kept me on the payroll even though I was on medical leave. He exempted me from meeting productivity sales goals the whole time I was going through treatment. Towards the end of my treatment while I was undergoing six weeks of radiation, he took me out to lunch and said that I was his inspiration throughout my cancer battle. That made me feel really good.

One thing is for sure, Odded had my back. He did everything he could do in his power to make my life less stressful while I was battling breast cancer. When I told him I decided to leave my job a year ago for another opportunity, I wept in his arms and said I would never forget how kind he was to me during my illness. He just gave me that signature dazzling smile he was known for and replied: it was nothing.

I don't know how I would have managed through such a difficult time without him. And now he's gone. A 37-year-old man with three little girls and wife has gone too soon.

Dear Odded, thank you for what you did for me during my time of need. I will always treasure the memory of your smile that could light up a room and your infectious laughter. Rest in peace.

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