Sunday, November 4, 2012


An SMS Conversation:

October 27

Hello Mugs. Salamat sa pag-allow s akin ng homebased ha malaking tulong sa pakiramdam ng mami ko pag andito ako sa haus dont worry ndi ko naman napapabayan mga trabaho saka alam nman ng mami ko ndi ako pwd istorbohin basta kampante lng cya na andito ako sa haus.

Masaya na ako na nakikita mo siya habang nagwowork ka. You owe your team mates part of the credit as well.

October 29

Mugs tnx sa txt mo last time mukhang ndi ako mkakapaghomebased sumisigaw sa sobra pain ang mami ko.

Aww di mo dadalhin sa doctor mom mo?

The doctor gave us pain reliever pero not the highest dosage yet.

[insert sad emoticon here] ok I will put absent on your attendance para makafocus ka jan.

November 1

Nasa hospital ikaw Fatima?

Yes pero lilipat p kmi ng iba hospital kc nid ng intensive care unit.

I will pray for your mom. I asked u kasi worried kami sayo.

Tnx s prayers nyong lahat.

Grabe ngang episode ng life to nkakapagod nakakadrain ng lakas at nakakawala din gana kumain may time na gusto ko na tlaga i let go ung mom ko pra wag na cya mahirapan pero cyempre mas malakas pa rin ung hope ko na gagaling cya.

Entrust everything to God. When this is all over, asahan mo, you will be a stronger person. Ang mahalaga, naparamdam mo sa mama mo na never siya nag-isa. Na nagtagumpay siya bilang isang ina.

Salamat Mugs. Salamat sa pag-unawa nyo sa akin.

Wala yun. Be strong and God bless.

As early as the middle of October, time was running out for Fatima and her mother. Only a miracle can overturn the final stages of malignant neoplasm. 

Fatima is my subordinate. A plump, small lady who could have been dismissed for her poor output and a pattern of non-presence and tardiness at work. Her work habits had irked me in the past. But given her dedication - when the company needed extra hands, and a lending ear when it's time for me to vent my frustrations, she's always been there to ease my headaches.

"Tao lang kami," I assured her when she wrote a letter to the boss requesting to be allowed to work at home.

"Make sure you check her stats ha, and she can only be granted such arrangement for a week." The boss ordered after I chipped my thoughts during our consultation. 

"It's not part of our company policy."

Fatima did perform beyond expectations. As a quiet observer and keeper of Statistics, cold numbers showed that she kept the end of her bargain. Her output had increased without a dip in quality. The latter, I knew from her colleagues. I guess the reason for her improvement is the mom factor. In my head, I see Fatima beside her bedridden mother while she taps the keyboard. The comfort of the heart amidst the turbulence of the mind; the string of words she had promised to keep; and the overflowing of love from the people at work had kept her steady throughout the ordeal. 

I do not know if in other places, such care could even be spared.

Her work-from-home was extended. The boss left the country for a business meeting, and he asked me to be his deputy. It would have been business as usual with one or two agents not showing up for work. But by then, Fatima's absence became more frequent. No longer could she perform her duties as her mom's pain had gone bad to worse. 

"Put yourself in her condition," My inner self spoke. "You will understand." 

The text conversations ceased after All Saints Day. What I've heard from her friends is that the family went home instead of looking for hospitals. Her struggle did slip off my mind as work turned into nightmare. And then, on November 2. An hour after lunch break. The office got a call.

It was from Fatima.

"Wala na mami ko." She was sobbing while recalling her last moments with her mother. 

"She can now rest in peace." I said in a somber voice. "Please accept my condolences."

I could have done things by the book - by suggesting that she takes a leave or even resign so the management could look for a replacement. But in a tiny workplace - where family matters and even the highest authority doesn't show up for days to resolve a domestic conflict, a resolution such as mine has no place.

If there is one thing I learned, it is that managers are counselors. At times, when Fatima sent text updates about her mom's condition; When she poured her heart out when she could have confided everything to her best friend; and when she called the office instead of the funeral home minutes after her mother passed away;

I understood that we were her strength.

I could have done things by the book. But by ignoring the boss' instructions and instead, rallied everyone around our bereaved colleague - and making each and everyone of us a sympathetic witness to her struggle, I hope that I was able to show the real face of the company.



Anonymous said...

Reading this while Never Let Me Go by FATM was playing sure has gotten me in tears. :( God bless Fatima and her mother's soul!

jetlander said...

I'm not as compassionate as you and after reading this I'll try to do my best to understand my subordinates. thank you for opening my eyes. I'm really in in awe of you. first the philhealth for your kasambahays and then this...

thank you

rudeboy said...

I'm sorry to read about your friend's plight, and her loss.

You did a good thing by her, Joms.

ZaiZai said...

I'm crying now, after reading this. I pray for Fatima and her mother's soul . Compassion, even a tiny bit of it goes a long, long way.

Dyosa said...

Naiyak ako. Buti na lang mag-isa na ko sa ofiss.

Angsakit naman nun.

Hindi kayang bayaran ng kahit saang kompanya ung attachment ng isang tao sa nanay nya. Tama lang ginawa ni Fatima. And she was lucky to work on a company like yours.

Please send my condolences to her.

Sean said...

my heart goes out to Fatima. it's good to see that there are still companies out there that see compassion as part of their values, and people like you who make sure that such ideals don't fade away.

Nate said...

you did well, sir joms. i'm sure fatima would treasure the kindness and the sympathy that you've shown her. may God grant comfort to her and her family in this time of mourning..

Mac Callister said...

Kawawa naman siya. Ang hirap nun situation nya ha.

Pero may her mom RIP na...

Anonymous said...

It was really sad. But tnx to you she can still have a life after that, goodjob!