I just found out that a former co-worker died.
We have known for a while that he was ill but no one was able to get any details about what was wrong with him or even where he was.
I personally had a pretty conflicted relationship with this man. On one occasion towards the end of his employment with us, I had to write him up because he was flagrantly insubordinate to me.
This was just one incident in a downward spiral. He had, at one time, been a very jovial, almost too-friendly employee but his personality slowly but drastically changed in the last couple years he was here.
It got to the point that he was no longer able to work.
But once he went on disability, it became more and more difficult to find out how he was doing. He would not return calls from coworkers and HR wouldn't (or couldn't) disclose details of his condition.
Plus, we heard from several of his friends and members of his family that he had distanced himself from them and was not responding to their attempts to reach out to him, either. It seems like he isolated himself pretty completely - and that makes me indescribably sad. To think of someone - anyone - being alone during the end of their life is bad enough, but to know that it happened because they made the decision to push their loved ones away is even sadder.
I'm feeling very numb right now and I just wish things could have been different.