About a month ago, I lost someone quite close to me. She was my senior most officer at work and someone my wife and I considered a good friend as well. In fact, it’s taken me a while to get back to this blog because it’s been a bit tough. She was the person who really pushed me to actually start my blog, rather than just talk and plan it.
It wasn’t a sudden death, she was diagnosed with cancer about a year and a half ago, and after fighting through that time, she finally succumbed to it. Although we always hoped and prayed for the best, we also knew that it was coming, especially in the last few months. It’s still tough, though, when it finally does happen.
As an organisation, we thought we had prepared for it, there were succession plans, contingency plans, passwords were shared, duties were distributed, all of it was prepared. But at the end of the day, when it finally came, we were lost. Being a small organisation, her loss was felt very personally by all of us. We didn’t know what to do for a while. My feeling of loss was compounded by the fact that a few days after losing her, my wife’s uncle also passed away.
On a personal level, one of the hardest things to do when facing situations like this, is explaining it to kids. My friend had left behind a 5 year old daughter, and it was one of the most heart-breaking things I’ve ever witnessed. Although she knew her mother was ill all this while, the family had a hard time explaining that mummy won’t be coming back. I pray that no one will ever have to do that for my young kids.
Having said that, my wife and I have spoken to our kids about this before. I can’t seem to recall the exact reason and context of why we did, but it’s something we spoke to them about when they were younger. They’ve been fortunate so far, that they have all 4 grandparents, both parents, and all aunts and uncles still; any deaths have been a bit removed from them, but it’s something we’ve tried to explain. As parents, I think it’s something that we do need to explain to them, and we don’t necessarily have to wait to experience a death before explaining it.
As I write, this, I seem to remember explaining about death after watching The Lion King, and I’m sure most of you would know which scene I’m talking about. If nothing else, you can use this and further scenes in the movie to help you out a bit. If you follow a certain religion, try to include your beliefs into it as well. At the same time, you don’t have to go into all the details, I myself avoided mention of heaven and hell at that time. That may be something for another time, but if you do want to, go ahead, I prefer to introduce concepts one at a time so the can digest and understand it as much as possible.
Anyways, getting back to the organisation, we’ve kept going. We rallied again. We move onwards. We use her memory to re-invigorate ourselves. We remember that this work that we do is our passion, as it was hers. We remember that what we do is bigger than any one person. It’s time to go back to our plans and execute. It’s what she would have wanted.