Found out this morning that Sunday evening, a previous manager/coworker, mentor, and friend lost his 5-year long battle with cancer. Been blue all day.
After work, I took the dogs for a walk to feel the sun on my skin, see the landscape in bloom, and organize my thoughts.
Every time I found myself back in Michigan, I tried to connect with my friend, but the last few visits either he didn’t feel up to company or we couldn’t coordinate our schedules to meet for a meal. We would exchange calls or texts with holiday well-wishes, send an occasional e-mail, or sometimes post on each other’s Facebook pages, but haven’t seen each other in two years.
Earlier this month, I got a card and letter from him. The letter, dated January 30th, was a full typed page of updates and musings.
When we worked together, I learned to lead by example from collaborating with him – and I still use his firm, fair, and friendly approach in my interactions with others. He provided good counsel and professional advice by listening and even when he didn’t like what I had to say, he gave me the courtesy of his undivided attention and thoughtful discussion. We worked through some hefty challenges, including significant staffing changes, and throughout the triumphs and the difficult situations, he had a way of maintaining calm and making the entire team feel valued and valuable.
Before I moved to California, he met me and a small group of friends. This is how I think of him – smiling.
May he be smiling still. He is missed.