Brendan joined my team almost three years ago.  He loved to code – during the peak of our development cycles, he might work all night simply because he was so energized by our mission.  He flew ultralight aircraft as a hobby, and was a proud ex-Navy man. 

When he returned a few months ago from disability leave, he was noticeably thinner and less energetic.  His chronic condition had exacted a severe toll.  His quick wit was a bit slower, as were his movements. 

Yesterday, his family called to tell me that he had died.  It’s hard to imagine anything harder than this for his family, at this time of year. 

Managers are legitimately expected to be calm voices in a storm.  We set the tone, regardless of our inner turmoil.  Speaking to each member of my team about Brendan was one of the hardest things I’ve done in my professional life. 

It is important to remember that our time is short.  Give undivided time to friends and family.  When you work, work at something you love, and take genuine pride in all you do.  Like ripples radiating outward from a stone tossed into a pond, our actions matter long after we’ve sunk below the surface.   


John Hack

wendii's picture
Admin Role Badge

I am sorry for your loss. It sounds like you and Brendan and your team really enjoyed working together. I hope you will find strength in your relationships now. Thank you for sharing such an important message.



rgbiv99's picture

Oh, John. I'm so sorry to read this. 

"Give undivided time to friends and family." Such great advice. Thank you for sharing your thoughts.


asteriskrntt1's picture


You are one of the bright examples on this forum.  Your sage advice and willingness to share are obvious to all.  If I am ever in a similar situation, either as a manager or as a team member, I hope that I can handle the situation with the compassion, professionalism and empathy that you show on a regular basis.  Be well.




mmann's picture
Licensee Badge

I'm sorry for your loss John.  The death of a direct is always difficult, and made even more so for a manager that's developed a relationship with his people.  What strikes me about your post is how you describe Brendan's work behaviors as energetic.  Clearly you did what you could to make that portion of his life into something he cherished.


jhbchina's picture


I am sorry to read the news of this unfortunate event. Your words are very poetic and makes all of us remember that we are human beings,not numbers on the job.

Some people feel that having a loved one pass away at this time of year is bad luck. I believe it is a blessing. What better time to pass on. Each year the holiday's will come, and our loved ones will remember the great and fun times they had with the deceased. The memories will be fresh, and the families will not forget.

If a passing happens during a time when we are not celebrating a holiday or event, who will remember everything so clearly.

JHB "00"

thaGUma's picture

John, I wrote a long email and deleted it - again. Sorry for your loss. For me - Spend some times in tears, it helps. Spend some time with your loved ones, it rocks. Take joy where you can and use it to carry you through this and keep your team together.


dhaidle's picture

I lost a very dear friend this past October.  "Give undivided time to friends and family." -- this statement is incredibly resounding.

I recently finished the cast about managing your calendar (admittedly I am catching up) and the first recommendation is to block time out for family.

We had a beloved director pass away at a very young age (probably in early 40's) from cancer a year or so ago.  A significant conference room was dedicated to this person and has his name.  (This is a conference room for training that holds 50+ people.)  There are many factors that led to such an honor, but there may be some way that you can honor Brendan.  One idea might be to "retire" (like they do in sports) a particular icon - such as a number or something similar.

My sincere condolences,


jhack's picture

 Thank you, all.  

John Hack

TomW's picture
Training Badge


I'm truly sorry for your loss and at the same time I'm amazed by how inspiring you can be in such a difficult time.


SMcM's picture
Licensee Badge

John, I am sorry for your loss.

Kind regards.


Glynixx's picture

Hi John,

Sorry for your loss. I too recently had someone on my team pass away late last year. His loss was profound, as I am sure Brendan's was. I've actually been thinking about sending a PM to Mike and / or Mark to as their advice. If you don't mind, maybe I can pm you as well? I too must echo a word of thanks about your friendliness and advice on the forums. I recently came back to MT and I always enjoy reading your thoughts and guidance.

Warmest regards,