Friday, July 01, 2011

I'll Miss You, Jean

I was deeply saddened to learn about the death of my friend and colleague (of sorts), Jean H. I met Jean years ago through her son and daughter-in-law, who live across the street from me.

In the past couple of years I've come to know Jean in a different light. A little background: My boss, an attorney, shares office space with another attorney, although they maintain completely separate law practices. I work for Boss Man, Jean worked for Lawyer Lady. Jean's desk and the one I share with the Other Admin Assistant were close, separated by one wall and door that's usually open. (Other Admin and I job-share so she works for Boss Man, too). My point is it felt like Jean and I were co-workers, even though we weren't.

For reasons that do not matter anymore, things hadn't being going well between Jean and Lawyer Lady. A couple of weeks ago, Jean resigned giving two weeks' notice. Although she didn't have a new job lined up, she was optimistic she'd find something.

At 72 years young, "retiring" is not Jean's style. When I last saw her -- yesterday on her final day of work -- we didn't go for the mushy goodbyes. After all, we'd still shout at each other from across the street when she visited her son, right? Instead she told me that although being a little nervous about the whole unemployed thing, she was going to relax and work on her garden until her next new adventure.

I'm sure no one ever thought that Jean's next adventure wouldn't include any of us, her friends and family. Yet, she very recently had the opportunity to reconnect with a loved one with whom there was a falling out some years back. That reconciliation brought her great peace and joy in the past weeks (she told me so).

Last night, Jean suffered a fatal heart attack. She was strong, energetic and vibrant to nearly the very end. Pain or suffering was likely mercifully brief. Although we feel blindsighted by her death, Jean I suspect was fixed and focused on her next great adventure...which I like to think begins now.

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