Tomorrow is my last day at my current job. I've been blessed with smart, kind, creative colleagues and am sad at the thought of leaving, because things just aren't the same once you've moved on.
I was ruminating on that when I stepped into the elevator this morning. In three short seconds, I was stressing out in earnest about how I was going to get everything done and remain sane through a week that includes handing off my project to a consultant, packing up my office, two midterms, an hour-long (as-yet unwritten) presentation at an annual professional meeting on Friday, and getting myself ready to go out of town for a week. Then I got news that put everything else into perspective -- our colleague Steven lost his battle with cancer this weekend.
As I read the obituary that his good friend Sandra wrote, I learned new things about a man for whom I already had a great deal of respect. Seeing the words on the page early this morning made his death seem real from a purely cerebral perspective. When I re-read the piece tonight and saw the photo of him with his college-age son, I finally processed the news emotionally and the tears began to fall.
I'm glad that he is no longer in pain. I'm glad that he had 10 months to tell his son and others how much he loved them. I'm glad that all of us had 10 months to tell him that we loved him.
It's not the details of how Steven lived that amaze me. It's the attitude he chose to have through the very end that inspires me. Every day was a gift for Steven. But 54 years was a cruelly short amount of time for him to be a blessing to others.