My boss, Andrea, is not in today. She didn't come in at all on Friday and called only once. I knew even then something was wrong.

Her husband has been in the hospital, in and out, for over 3 years, battling leukemia. She goes in to see him every morning, to help the nurses change the bedding and get him up and running, before she comes to work. She's never come in before 10, and this always gave me prime goofing time in the morning, before we could get down to work.

She talked often about the little things and joked about them. She said that Juan would often "talk" to his body into getting along with the bone marrow transplant: now we all gotta get along now, because we're not going anywhere. She laughed about how their daughter would come into his room and push fries in his face asking, "Daddy, you want some?" not knowing that he couldn't eat them. Andrea pondered how Juan's parents, who are Jehovah's witnesses, do not believe in blood transfusions when they did donate the bone marrow, asking how the two were much different. I laughed with her because she has always been, at work, very strong and full of life and jokes, which I guess were needed just to get by.

This morning I was told that he died over the weekend. He had been recently given normal food instead of an IV and Andrea watched his belly bloat up as his intestines became backed up with fluid and stretched painfully to accomodate. He had fought leukemia since 1998, and now he is in no pain no more. I am crying for a man I've never met who is married to a woman I barely know, and it is the crying from fear over this kind of loss, this unexplained loss of life.