Today is the memorial service for an old friend, mentor and client. This man was the catalyst for changes and successes in my career. He was intelligent and knowledgeable, sometimes arrogant and demanding; and he also believed in rewarding good work. He had a philosophy of teamwork and shared responsibility and so he never cast blame without sharing it.
At one time this man had a part of each and every one of my workdays. We shared a storyline of exciting business negotiation, competition, closed deals, disappointing losses and narrow escapes
And he became a friend.
Although our paths didn’t often cross after we retired, I continued to hold him in my heart as a man who had gained my admiration in business because he was honest and straightforward. He had also gained my friendship through years of proximity and of our sharing of each other’s lives that included our spouses, children and finally grandchildren.
He was a situational friend; a friend for the working years. Although I visited him a few times when he became ill, he was no longer a part of my life, nor I his.
I am sad that he is gone. I’m sad that he didn’t live to enjoy the fruits of his labor. I’m sad that his last years were not healthy and vibrant. Most of all, selfishly, I am sad that a chapter in the book of my life is firmly closed.
Of course, it has been closed for years. But now it’s final. The history of my life and career has a void created by his passing.
This is not a wrenching grief of the unexpected death of a close friend or family member. But it represents the end of an era more absolutely than closing an office or shredding files. It takes me more completely from who I was then, to who I am now; so that in a way, it is a farewell to both of us.
Who we were is certainly more important than what we did. And in a way, both are gone. Perhaps something of that time still matters to someone. Maybe I’ll see that person at his service. But it’s all buried and smoothed into the fabric of the lives he touched, including mine.
sorry to hear of your loss. I remember grandpa telling me when he was 70 that the older he got the more he realized the less that he knew. And I thought he was the wisest person on the planet!
And I have admired you through all your years! and am sure you will continue to shine brighter and brighter as the years go on!
I was reading this post and thinking about my friend and client. That was all about me. This is all about him.
He was a strange mix of macho and gentleman in the courtly manner of days gone by
who never referred to my gender other than through his innate gallantry. When he gave me my start in commercial/industrial real estate (probably because I was the only person in the office building who arrive as early as he did) it was a great challenge for me. At the time, I told my husband, “This is going to take some traveling and may be for nothing, but I’m giving it a shot.”
And so it began, a taste of a world that changed my career.
Working with him wasn’t always a joy because he challenged me. He created my training without ever knowing. I couldn’t enter his office with half-baked information. Although we always worked in a team with him being the owner/developer/account and his long-time friend as legal representative; I needed to study every proposal from each of their viewpoints before I presented it. To be part of the team, I had to broaden my views and encompass more than selling a piece of property. It was the full-meal deal!
From the time I began working with him, all of my formal education was brought to life by inserting real life into the scenarios.
To you, Tom!