During the holidays, two former co-workers died. These were people I worked with 18 years ago. One was the owner of the company. He was my exact age. The other, one of the head designers, was a few years younger. The company had 75 employees, so having two deaths so close together seems unusual.
After I heard the news, I started reviewing “snapshots” I had in my head. These were snapshots from when I worked with them.
I always went into work early. I like to start slowly, drink coffee and have a few laughs before I get into the meat of the day. The owner was always there. He was an early riser with tons of energy. There were usually four of us “early birds” and we had fun before the masses came in. I have some really funny snapshots from those early morning chats.
Eventually I left the job and moved back into the corporate world. We weren’t friends in the truest sense of the word. We didn’t keep in touch, not even with Christmas cards. I would see them at restaurants but not often. In my head they hadn’t changed at all – no gray hair and no extra pounds! I almost didn’t recognize the obituary pictures.
I was truly saddened by their deaths. Maybe facing my own mortality is a part of it or a reminder that time passes too quickly. I remembered another time, another day. I kept thinking about my life back then – all the friends I met (some I still see), the lessons I learned and how it changed me. Somehow it seems so long ago – like it happened to a different person. Will life be different next year at this time? Will some people be gone? Will it be better or worse?
Yesterday we had a family get-together. My sensitivity to death caused me to look around and take mental snapshots of what I saw — snapshots that will entertain me in years to come. I saw kids growing up and contemporaries aging gracefully. I saw family “hoot and holler” and laugh. Everyone was talking at the same time so each one had to talk louder to get heard. There were new “significant others” there who were overwhelmed with it all wondering what they got themselves into. It is a great series of snapshots.
Memories somehow seem more special when you look at them in the rearview mirror than when they actually happen. I don’t know why. Is it because it’s gone and can’t be replicated? Or….maybe we just don’t take the time to appreciate what happens to us in the moment.
Photo credit: anna.letoile courtesy of Flickr