About a month ago a friend of mine from my former company, one in which I worked for 19 years, texted me. He apologized for contacting me in this way, rather than a phone call. A colleague from work had died suddenly. She had been in my age group, and though she had some health issues, her dying was totally unexpected and truly overnight. She had been in the office the day before selling sponsorships to an event, something she had done for years and done it better than anyone could.
She was filled with joy (no pun intended!), a zeal for life, dedication to hard work, specifically selling, and she was quirky. There is no other P (name omitted in deference and with respect). She loved good gossip (and there’s always plenty of it in an office environment), purses (she had a house in Spain and couldn’t resist buying beautiful leather bags of every shape and color when she vacationed), shoes (Imelda had nothing on P!), pasta, good coffee, her partner of 25 years, and her family. Dedicated daughter to a very sick mother, kind sister, and loyal friend to all.
I sat next to her when I went back to my former place of employment for 7 months. In the morning, she’d make me a cup of Nescafe, the European kind, not the crappy American one from the grocery store. If you were working on something and didn’t have time for lunch, she’d make sure you had something from the vending machine! Selfless, sweet, thoughtful, all would describe P. One of my friends at work told me he had a drawer full of Kind bars that P brought him every day, even though he disliked them. She wanted to make sure he ate, since he had a reputation for skipping meals! She would never know he stored them away in his drawer for over a year!
When someone dies who is a contemporary, it is a shock, it hits home. You may love someone in their 80’s or 90’s, but know that their time is nearing and if they pass, it’s not shocking. It is part of life. A person in their 50’s or 60’s is still young (at least, they are to me!) and they have so much more to accomplish. P never did get to retire, have that last goodbye lunch, make that last sale, see one more client, or make one more call to convince a prospect sitting on the fence about attending an awards dinner.
Death doesn’t announce itself. It can come suddenly and unexpectedly, without warning, without an invite. P worked for the same company for almost 32 years, truly a part of the fabric of the firm. She was part of the old culture that had existed, like your work family. Several of my best friends in life, I made through my time there.
P will be sorely missed by so many, but she leaves those whose lives she touched all the better for having known her.
I know that there will be other calls, texts, emails, to tell me of someone who is near and dear to me dying or being very ill. I cannot bear the thought. It saddens me so. I remember being in Florida with my mother when she got the call that her childhood friend, a woman she had known
all her life, had passed away. She sat down and wept. She hadn’t seen her for many years, but death wakes us up to our own mortality and pinches us to let us know we are alive. We know not for how long.
Death is not somewhere in the far off future. It can come at anytime. We must take the best care of ourselves, but understand our fate in someone’s else’s hands.
Live life to the fullest and let those who are close to you know how much they mean to you.
As always, enjoy the ride.
xox Barclay & Joy