There was a woman at our organization who was quite formidable and tyrannical. I work for the group that services everyone's computers and I was loathe to get a call from her. If she had a computer problem she would call in a fury screaming, "I am the director of this department and someone better get up here and fix my computer now!" Arriving at the scene, I was hollered at as if I were a lazy servant-girl who could not move fast enough to do her bidding. The last time I spoke with her was about six weeks ago. She said she was going on a trip so she needed all her remote access issues sorted out. There were times, in passing, that I grumbled about her and bad-mouthed her to a few of co-workers. "What the hell was this crazy woman's problem?! Geez!!" It is my job, I should explain, to add and remove people from our network as they come and go. I got a call from HR this morning to remove her accounts. ASAP! With a secret delight I thought, "Oh my! She has finally bawled out the wrong person and has gotten the boot." I called HR back to let them know that I had completed the request to deactivate the accounts. The HR person who submitted the request was not there so I spoke to someone else. "Which employee are you talking about?" he asked. I told him. "Oh, yes." he said, "She died." Words cannot describe the feeling that came over me. He explained that she had been very sick with a terminal illness for some time (at least as long as I had known her). "But I just saw her!" I said, "I was helping her get her laptop ready so she could go on a trip." "Is that what she told you?" he said. "No, that wasn't exactly the case. She was at a point where she couldn't work from the office anymore." Guilt overwhelms me now. I had always considered myself a compassionate person until today. When people cut in front of me in traffic I just assume that there is a very important reason they are in a hurry which I do not know. I have failed to be compassionate this time. I never considered that this woman might be going through something so tragic. This is a very strange shame that I feel. Has anyone else had an experience like this, when someone you didn't much care for is suddenly gone, and you wish you hadn't thought all those bad things about the person?