In the past month, I've said goodbye to two incredible women who were influential leaders in my life. In both cases, I have yet to truly grieve, due to life circumstances and the fact that I avoid the grieving process like I avoid cleaning my bathroom. Eventually there comes a point where I have to do it because I recognize its vast importance, but I find that distracting myself with other things helps me put it off a bit longer. That way, I can be prepared. And even then, I tend to try to "get it over with" as quickly as possible. It's not that I think that the people I am avoiding grieving for aren't important or worth it; in fact, it's quite the contrary. Often times I just don't want to accept the truth that they are gone. It's the selfish truth. Perhaps this is why I'm writing this post about them. Maybe this will help. I hope that I can be half the women they were and inspire others like they have inspired me.
So here goes.
You were the best boss I could have ever asked for. You were much more than a boss to me; you were a mother, a friend, and a supporter. While you may not have been the big scary boss you probably should have been, I wouldn't have wanted it any other way. I guarantee the other Playcamp staff members would agree.
You took a chance on me and hired me on the spot to work as a camp counselor and my life forever changed. I loved hearing about your new grandchildren, discussing your young and wild days, and complaining about the everyday camp problems with you. I'll never forget when I asked you to write me your first ever recommendation letter; you took the time to research how to write one--you claimed you were never much of a writer-- and now I have a letter from you that I will always cherish. You've given me a gift that will keep on giving as I continue my job search in the future.
I wish I had known that when I visited camp in June that it would be the last time I would see you. I'd tell you thank you for everything. For recognizing that I was meant to work with kids. For always making work feel like a place I actually wanted to be. For believing in me. I hope you are eating an endless supply of those insanely awesome iced cookies you served as a lunch lady at school, watching your grandchildren with pride, and allowing God to give you the break you always so deserved.
I am who I am in Kappa Delta for many reasons, but much of it because of you. You served as our CAB Advisor long before I arrived, establishing a tradition that will carry on years and years from now. Even in your retirement, you saw the value in sisterhood and the value in AOT. Your immense interest in helping the ladies of Alpha Phi move toward success has transformed the sisterhood into what it is today. You took the reigns when we needed it most. Your life experiences as a teacher transcended into your new role; as a result, Alpha Phi has fostered and nurtured so many talented leaders. I am blessed to have been one of those last few leaders who were fortunate enough to work with you.
You were feisty. Fierce. Knowledgeable. Understanding. Kind. Always helpful. When you had us over your house for a council retreat, I always felt at home. I felt a connection to you on another level because you were a member of my church and we always shared that bond.
Even when you passed your KD duties along and I graduated, you still showed your interest in my life and in the lives of many other Kay Dees. I wish I had taken the time to thank you for that and for all you taught me. You showed me that sending one simple message to a friend can affect them drastically.
I am so glad that you are reunited with your husband. You two must make an unstoppable pair.
Love in AOT.