Charlie my friend.
I feel so bad for my friend from work, Charlie, who just found out yesterday that his father died all alone at his home on Friday evening last. His father was living in Minnesota and was not found until Tuesday. Charlie is an only child and not yet twenty one. His birthday is the 14th of February and he and I had planned on getting together to celebrate.
I must say that Charlie is unlike most young men his age in that he is more like an old soul. He is much more responsible than I ever was even in my late twenties. When I speak with Charlie it's like I am talking with someone who is much older than his twenty years.
Though I've only known him now for three weeks, it's like we made a connection some how. He is a good teacher and has been teaching me about CNC machining. He feels that he can tell me anything and after only knowing him a short time, I have more respect for him than I do a lot of adults I've known for years.
The phone call about his father came at work early in the day. Even though his own father-in-law works with us; I was the first one he approached about it. I could tell by his eyes that something was dreadfully wrong. While he was telling me, all I could do was just let him get it out while I kept patting him on the back and staying with him. He was in such a shock that he began to just go back to work running machinery but I was fearful that he would not be able to do so safely. My suggestion to him was to just go home and find a place to grieve and be with his young wife. He did not know how to get ahold of the Police Department where his father lived so I told him to call the local Police Department and they could get him the number. He was still just so much in shock and he didn't know which way to turn. His father didn't have much and Charlie does not know if he can afford to bring his own father back to North Carolina for burial. The whole situation sits completely on this young mans shoulders.
Finally I went to his father-in-law and he was able to convince Charlie to go home. The father-in-law told him to not worry about it because if he needs the money, to bring him home and pay for the funeral, that he will give him the money. Here is a young man who only has fourteen month's left on paying off his small home and has both of his vehicles paid for at such an early age. He works 55 to 60 hours a week to do this and that is unheard of these days. This young man is more responsible, as I said, than any adult I've ever known.
I feel very bad for him and don't know what I can do other than to let him know I'm here for him, what ever that is worth.
The work day just feels like a big void without him there. Everyone relies on this young man so much at work that his absence can be felt in a huge way.