This past week I hit my one-year mark working for Microsoft.

As with any new job, you never know what the future holds as you get started. It was an exciting time for us because I had just landed my dream job to work for a company I had long hoped to work for.

Of course, I also had no idea that within this first year my wife would deal with debilitating cervical pain and ultimately require spinal fusion surgery to address that issue. Nor did we know that one week prior to that surgery we would learn that Margo had incurable Stage 3 Sarcomatoid Mesothelioma with a prognosis of 12-15 months if she underwent immunotherapy or chemotherapy.

After much prayer, discussion, and reflection we decided not to pursue treatment but to focus on quality of life.

She healed well following the cervical surgery and was pain free three weeks later after nearly six-months of debilitating pain. She was able to attend and fully participate in my ordination to the Permanent Diaconate on June 11th which was a blessing beyond measure.

What we didn’t know was coming about two weeks later – Margo’s very fast decline and the subsequent need to be admitted for in-patient hospice care for the last six days of her life.

After that focus shifted to preparing to honor her life at a funeral mass on August 11th followed by her being laid to rest on August 12th.

Some of you might be reading this and wondering what it has to do with being at Microsoft for a year. In actuality, it has everything to do with working at Microsoft.

During this entire period of my life, my manager and colleagues were there with encouragement and support. I was constantly told to focus on what I needed to do for my family and that everything else could wait. Outside of my thirty years in the U.S. Navy, I have never had an employer be that generous with me as a human being, showing compassion about what I was going thru in those several months. It was never about work that had to be done but about taking care of myself and my family during these times of challenge and loss.

As I begin my second year at Microsoft, under very different circumstances compared to my start a year ago, I look forward to digging into the work that is in front of me as the Community Manager for Microsoft Q&A. I know I do so with the full support of my manager and colleagues to continue addressing the grief that is now part of my life without Margo as I find my firm footing on this team and in my work moving forward.

Margo and I were truly blessed to be part of this company as we faced these challenges, not sure I could have been anywhere better over this past year.

The quality of the benefits from Microsoft that helped us face these circumstances were top notch. After her death, they were there for that part of the journey as well and continue to make resources available to me as this journey continues. They truly do accompany you on your journey of life as you work for them.

So, if you were to ask me if working at Microsoft is worth it – that would be a resounding yes from me every day of the week!

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