NOTE: I wrote this is May, but didn’t post it due to technical difficulties. I wanted to share it now.
My former boss, mentor, colleague, and friend passed away last week. I have known for about 6 weeks that recovery was unlikely following some serious heart attacks and health situations, but the news did not go down easily. When I heard that the family had been called in last Tuesday morning, I knew that this was it; as the day progressed, every update from the hospital left me feeling that I would never again swallow the lump in my throat, and the tears just wouldn’t stop. While on bus duty, ironically standing in the same spot where he and I had stood together and shot the breeze about a million times before, I got the call that he had passed…and the tears started again. It didn’t matter that I was standing surrounded by hundreds of people – I let the emotion pour over me…I felt so sad for my friend. We had discussed retirement about 4893 times over the years, and he loved to tell me all of his ideas and plans for his “life after school work”…but he didn’t get to do a single one of them. That is what makes me so sad – you work hard your whole life, saving and planning for those years when your responsibilities have all been met…I’m sorry that he won’t see that time. 😦
Our last conversation happened on Tuesday, April 4th, his last day at work. We were chatting on the phone about a whole lot of nothing (mostly we talked about what jobs I had applied for and where I was likely to be moving to next school year) – and then this conversation happened:
HIM – Hey, you know that if these schools you were just talking about don’t work out, I think I know where you should go!
HIM – It’s new, hasn’t opened yet. I think you’d be perfect!
ME – You mean ***** (the name of the new high school that’s going to be opening here in August)? I don’t really know that there will be an opening there for me.
HIM – No! It’s another new place! I think you’d be great!
ME – (trying to think of any other new schools opening in the area) Where is it?
HIM – They’re opening a new Hooters on 151…you’d be perfect!!!
And then he laughed. And I laughed, as I told him what a jackass he was. I had no idea this would be our last conversation….but what a way to finish a conversation. I never had the chance to tell him how much I appreciate all that he did for me, and what his friendship has meant to me, but…I’m pretty sure that he knew. I hope so.