It’s weird to quit a job while you are on leave because there isn’t a whole lot of closure. There’s no goodbye party, no last day of work, no chances to hug your co-workers farewell.
After I resigned from my job, a few weeks before my maternity leave was up, there were a couple of people I wanted to see in person. One of them was my friend Mary, who I thought of as my “work mom”… always there to listen, give me advice or a hug, to tell me she was praying for me. I emailed her at the end of July to see if she was free the following Wednesday so that I could bring Owen in to meet her. She emailed me back and said she was going to be off that day, but we should plan a day in the following couple of weeks. In her email she said, “We should just plan for another week, but let’s not let it get away from us!”
Well, it got away from us. I never emailed her back, I never dropped in to see her.
And then, today, I found out that she passed away on Friday.
Mary was such an incredible person. If I had to pick one word to describe her, it would be “kindness.” She was one of the sweetest souls I’ve ever met. I never heard her say an unkind thing about anyone – not even once. And really it was the opposite – she was always bragging on people, saying such nice things about everyone. She would be at the front desk saying to me, “Isn’t Jamie just so great with the kids? They just love him” or “John has the patience of Job, doesn’t he?”
The kids in the day treatment program – even when they were cussing out every other staff member and destroying things- would always treat Mary with respect because they all loved her. I would often see them sitting in her office, chatting with her, when I would go back to that wing of the building. I think a lot of people included “chatting with Mary” as one of their coping skills. I think she was kind of like a mom to everyone.
Even in the midst of Mary battling breast cancer, Mary was so positive and upbeat, and always so concerned for everyone else’s lives and problems. She would always remember and ask me about the (minor) things I was going through, and she would tell me she was praying for me. She was so excited about me becoming a mom and always was asking for updates on our adoption process. I still have the card she gave me for my baby shower – full of encouraging and reassuring words.
Mary was such a sunny person and the world seems a little bleaker today, just knowing she is no longer here. I’m going to miss my sweet friend.
Two things I am thinking about today:
1. I would like to be more like Mary. I want to be defined by kindness. I don’t want to say an unkind thing about anyone. I want to care about other people and their problems rather than my own. (How amazing would the world be if everyone was more like that?)
2. Never take for granted how precious time is- spend time with people you care about everytime you get a chance. How I wish I would have not let time get away from us – and gone in to see her while I still had the chance.