Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Losing Treasures

Well, I got hit with some rather sad news today.
An older gentleman that I had the honor to work very closely with a few years ago, someone that I looked upon with great admiration, has passed away. He was of very advanced age, and had lived a full life, his love of travel and natural curiosity taking him everywhere, seeing everything, yet still feeling that his life's adventures were just beginning.

The end was not a quick one, nor painless. My thoughts go quickly to his widow, such a treasure in her own right, so proud of her many grandchildren, as anyone who spent more than a few minutes in her company can attest; so appreciative of the many treasures that filled her life. I smile now at the memory of watching them both leave work together, remembering tonight for the first time in a long time the obvious value they placed on being together; unsteady in step due to age, but rock solid in their commitment to each other.

I feel a sense of great loss. It was always a thrill to see how quickly he could resolve a problem on the job that had me positively baffled. I learned so much from him... starting with, how much more remained for me to know.
Selfishly, I can't help but think of the many questions that will now forever remain unanswered. Putting them off for another time is now no longer an option, as a treasure chest of experiences closes shut, cut off as a resource. I think of the many conversations we had, and say a quick prayer of gratitude for having had the nerve, and the imagination, to have asked as many questions as I did, when I did. And for him to have had the patience to gently answer all of them.

With family and friends, we don't often think of our relationships as a race against time. Yet at some point, the other person will likely be lost to us, the treasure that their connection to us brings to our life will be taken away. Maybe not completely, as long as memories remain; the connection may even grow as age reveals more to the relationship than we were able to observe at the time we lived it. Death is not a complete separation, if our appreciation for the connection lives on.

But right now that's not feeling like much of a substitute for having the person sitting right there, across from your desk, or at your side, sharing experiences and passing on so many life lessons to an eager, wide-eyed young sprout, amazed at the good fortune that could connect him to such a treasure.

I hope I made you proud by how I've used all the knowledge and experiences you were kind enough to share with me.

Rest in peace.

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