A true friend who did not say goodbye
A true friend fills a place in your heart that you never knew was empty. This made me think about a colleague at our parent company in Germany with whom I have worked closely for almost 2 decades. I got to know that he retired 5 weeks after he had retired and he left without as much as a goodbye. I now know that phrase is not an empty one; the space in my heart once filled by him is now empty and it is painful not to be hearing his voice (he always preferred using the telephone over e-mail).
No, this is not me griping here; I am just confused as to why he left the way he did. He did not announce this at work at all and just quietly faded into the well-deserved sun set without having a party or anything.
Friends do fill voids in us that we often realize way too late how much they meant to us. How can we make sure we reduce the pain and future regrets? A few questions that I have been asking myself may be helpful for you to ponder as well:
- When we no longer have physical presence of our friends we tend to mourn the “loss”. This can be really painful. Question to ask ourselves is whether or not we have done everything in our power to spend as much time as possible with one another while we had the time.
- What will we do when it is time to retire, make a career move, move, etc? How will we include our friends and family in the decision making process and saying our goodbyes?
- What will we move away from and what will we retire to, or simply do differently?
- What do we want to stand for and were we on purpose?
- What legacy do we want to leave behind?
- How present are we at this moment and at the moment of interacting with others?
All we can do is to make sure people will see and sense that we are congruent with what we do and who we are. It narrows the gap between what people think about you and what you really intended to be. In doing this, you will never leave a gap in anyone’s heart. One big favor I need to ask you though is for us all to share our plans. It is so much nicer if we include others – let’s not leave others guessing if we are going to be ok.