I had a sad letter from a dear friend recently. It told of the passing of his wife of more than 50 years.
Although the illnesses weren’t the same, he was a caregiver as I was for a number of years. One more experience we shared.
When I was about 26, I was lucky enough to begin my professional career with folks who helped people grow professionally. They made what I call a rising star out of me. When I was 32, I was promoted to the position of compensation manager for a company of about 7,000 employees.
Not long after that, I was again promoted to the director of industrial relations position. I brought my friend to replace me in the compensation manager’s position. It was a good move for at least two reasons. My friend was competent and up to the job. I knew I would not have to worry about the right things happening. He was able to “sell” himself. People loved him.
The second reason was purely personal. I was lonely; alone in a strange place. I had gone from an almost-family work environment in Texas to an old, established organization that was not necessarily amenable to change. The two top officers had worked there for more than 50 years, so I needed a friend. He helped to make our Industrial Relations Department a happy place to work. When management embraced him, they were, in effect, embracing me as well.
In his note telling me of his wife’s passing, he said I was his best friend and the best boss he had ever worked for. That was odd, in a way. When I called him to tell him I wished I could be with him, I had to tell him that I never felt I was his boss. I always felt he was my friend – my best friend for a long time. I have matured enough to tell him that I love him. He is two years younger than I am – just a kid.
I hope to be able to see him before long. I’m going to make it happen.
You may wonder why I am sharing this with you.
The joy we had with friends 50 years ago is still important. It was and is a precious time of my life. I have to believe that I am not alone. I believe that there are many of you who had similar relationships earlier in life – relationships that can be renewed. The truth is, I could have reunited with my friend long ago, but I let routine, relatively unimportant matters get in the way – things that seemed to be immediately pressing.
My friend told me he lost my telephone number, and I lost his. But when I really wanted to call, I just called 411 and in two minutes I was talking to him. It was easy.
So, is there someone in your past you would like to have in your present? Don’t have a number? Try 411. It worked for me.
Reach Murray Bass at 427-0744 or firstname.lastname@example.org.