I've been wanting to do a post about Joe ever since he passed.   I've been wanting to do it for a while now, but couldn't bring myself to write.  I don't know if it was just too hard, or I didn't know what to say, or I'd just ramble incoherently and I'd do Joe a great disservice.  I had thoughts that "What if others that cared about him read it and are offended by what I say." Then I realized I was just putting it off.  That it WAS probably too hard and I was making excuses not to do it.

The other day Facebook gave me an On This Day notification about Joe's passing in my memories.  Which meant that I'd been putting it off for a year.

I met Joe when I trained him when he was hired on to Field Services (My company's fancy way of saying Tech Support).  Joe was quiet at first.  He had the same dear in the headlight look that most of the new techs have when I was going over the process of doing things.

The thing that I remember most about Joe's training was how fast it took.  It only took about half as long as any other tech before Joe started taking charge of the tasks I gave him.  Double that time and we were at a point where I was asking him questions on how he'd handle certain issues.

It was also at that point that Joe's personality came out.

Joe was one my favorite person to work around, which worked out for me because he was assigned to my shop for the first little while (He eventually was placed somewhere else, but was moved back because he was too good to keep at the desert).  Joe was hilarious.  Whether it be his quick jabs at something I said, his spontaneously bursting out into song, or his mock anger at my asking him a question or not staying caught up on a show we were both watching.  I was constantly laughing around him.

I say it was mock anger because shortly after his initial "Dammit Ken!"  or "Son of a B!" (And he actually said the bee sound and not the dirty word.  Although Joe could swear pretty well when he wanted to.) he was quick to help, no matter how heavy his work load was at the time.  He'd even go as far as going with me to a customers desk if he felt he need to look at the problem first hand.  He'd tell me that he had to do it fast because he was working on something else, but he'd stay to solve the issue if it came to that.

The swearing issue stands at the for front for the fact that, like I said, he could swear pretty good and did, just not around me.  Why?  He knew that I didn't like it.  Not that I'd let anyone know that.  I did tell Joe that he didn't have to censor himself on my account.  That it was his choice to swear and I was going to think less of him for it.  There were plenty of others that didn't have the same qualms about censoring themselves around me.  Joe continued to refrain.  And even when there was the occasional slip, he would quickly apologize.  I appreciated that.  He knew how I felt and respected it, even though he knew I wouldn't hold it against him.

Joe was quick to help in personal things too.  I had issues with my car that I was talking to him about.  Joe went on line to find the parts I needed and then made arrangements to meet me on a day off and help me fix it.  I say help as if I knew anything about what we were doing.  I was really only handing him tools he asked for.  Joe kept me involved though.  Showed me what he was doing and tried to teach me.  I retained none of it, but I still appreciated the effort.

Joe was warm and friendly and would always make everyone feel included.  Some of us guys decided that on our working Fridays we'd make plans to go to lunch that day.  We had an hour long lunch on our working Fridays, so it worked out.  If any new techs were hired, he'd invite them along too.  When I eventually left Field Services for my current position Joe would always chat or call to find out if I was still going.  He'd even pick me up if I needed it.  They were fun and were something to look forward too.

When I found out about Joe having cancer my heart dropped.  The days that followed really weren't the same, and still aren't.  There was a point where he came back to work part time and I remember being so excited.  I'd told him how good it was to hear his voice and how happy I was that he was back.

It was short lived though.

I'm not even sure Joe had came back for a week before he relapsed.  All I know is that it was too short.  I remember getting a chat not long after from a mutual friend of ours, Keith.  He let me know that Joe was in the hospital and that if I wanted to see him I'd better do it now because it didn't look good.

I remember the dread I felt going to Joe's room.  I probably wouldn't have been able to make it there if Brooke hadn't gone with me.  Joe had looked so frail and different lying in his bed.  He hadn't been conscious, so I left a message with the gentleman in the room, his dad I think.  I told him to let Joe know I'd stopped by if he could and I left.  I just didn't' know what to say and I couldn't bear seeing him like that.  Joe had always been so vibrant and to see him lying there like that left an ache in my chest.

It wasn't' long after that the news Joe had passed came.  Brooke and I went to the funeral.  We listened to all Joe's friends get up and tell stories about Joe.  The same types of stories that I had experienced.  Stories of laughter, Joe's pranks, and most of all his caring nature.  Joe going out of his way to help those around him.

I've thought about him a lot since then.  His obituary sits on my dresser to this day.  I'd like to say it's just that I'm lazy and haven't put it away, but I don't think it's that.  I like to see his smiling face and remember all the fun we had.  I don't think I was as close to Joe as some of his other friends, but Joe never gave me that impression.  He always made feel like I was a close friend.  That I mattered in his life.  He made sure to invite me to work lunches and made me feel included.

That's what I liked best and will always remember about Joe.


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