Saturday I was at the funeral for a coworker, and I was blindsided by the emotional onslaught. I had worked fairly closely with this woman a few years earlier, but we had both gone onto different positions within the company, and our paths crossed less and less. I knew she was battling cancer; and I thought she had beaten it. Come to find out, so did many of us, because she never let her illness stand in the way of her work.

You know how there are some people who are so professional and good at their job you feel instinctively relieved when you have to work with them? You feel, this person won’t steer me wrong. This person will do a good job, see the bigger picture and at the same time manage the details. Darla Wenzel was that person, and I know that when I think of my day job and when I try to be that person who other people say, “hey, she really knows her stuff,” it is Darla and people like her who I am trying to emulate.

So the funeral was exhausting but uplifting because there were so many friends and family members and coworkers. Then much later I went to David Chang’s birthday party, but by that time, I had been through so many emotions I ended up with a migraine and had to leave early, even though Matt brought an alien in a styrofoam cooler, and there was going to be karaoke later.

I just wanted to say one more thing. Writers, musicians, and artists often think of the day job as a necessary evil. Pay the bills, keep a roof over your head, support your family, all the while writing, performing, creating. Well, when I saw all my coworkers, even people who had moved on to other companies, show up for Darla’s funeral, I knew that we had something special. Maybe the day job is necessary also for a sense of community.


Kim Willett · October 21, 2009 at 2:02 pm

The anniversary of Darla’s death is tomorrow. Thanks for writing this. I knew her as a dedicated parent.

Patrice Sarath · October 21, 2009 at 3:00 pm

She was a good person and a good parent. It’s good that people remember her. Thanks for commenting.

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