Monday, August 30, 2010

It's just not fair.

I have a few blogs in my head that I have been thinking about writing but sometimes something happens and it changes everything. This might not be long or it might be overly long but I feel like I should write, and so I will.

Life is sometimes unfair.

Today I heard the sad news that a woman I used to work with lost her battle with cancer. I started to say a friend of mine, but that is not entirely true. We were friendly, I respected her. If I had stayed at the agency longer after she had started work there we might have become friends, but as it stands we were co-workers. But she was an impressive woman and I wanted to share some memories of her. I think that is the mark of a good life, leaving people behind who remember you fondly.

Colette came on at L/N towards the end of my time there. Colette was going to be a production manager for us. Along with working hand in hand with Scott to help run the business. When she walked in the door her first day she thought we all knew that. She assumed that the details she had worked out with Scott had been shared with us. So she walked in and started trying to change the way we had always done business. Needless to say she didn't win many friends. I sent her an email her first day welcoming her to the job. She sent me one back very grateful for the welcome (she was very pregnant and highly emotional) and we started corresponding.

Eventually she shared with me that she didn't understand why people weren't accepting her. I said that she just needed to give it time as we all had our own ways of doing things and it was hard to change on a dime. That's when she realized that the prep work she thought Scott had been doing, the groundwork she thought he was laying for her arrival hadn't been done. Now at this point she had a few options, she could have kept doing what she was doing and figured that eventually we would all fall in line. She could have gotten mad at Scott and told him off. She could have done a lot of things. But what she did was take a step back, re-look at the office and the dynamic we had working there and start over. She apologized to a few people that she felt she might have offended with her brusque start and she kept doing her job. I found that to be impressive.

My last few weeks at the agency Colette took it upon herself to try and mend the fence between Scott and I. She and I talked quite a lot and I have to believe she did the same with Scott. "Life is short," she told me, "too short to be this angry with each other." I explained to her that it was too late for Scott and I but that I appreciated her trying. My second to last day she finally had a breakthrough on one side of the equation. Scott sent me an email and asked me to lunch the next day. My last day. He waited until my second to last day to ask me out to lunch on my last day. I already had plans. I thanked him for the offer but let him know someone else had asked me out that day. He told me to change my plans. I invited him to join us, but said that I would not cancel my lunch as that would be rude.

When I shared with Colette that he had asked me to lunch the next day and that I had turned him down and why she shot back at me that I was being very "third grade" about the whole thing. I corrected her and said that actually I was being very kindergarten about it. That my mother had taught me at a very young age that if you made plans with someone you didn't cancel them if you got a better offer. Which is exactly what Scott viewed himself as. I told her that I wasn't giving him a pass because he felt he was better or more important than the person I was having lunch with as they had asked me to lunch two weeks earlier. I also let her know that I had invited him to join us but he declined. She told me she thought I was being very childish. I told her I disagreed with her but she was entitled to her opinion. The next afternoon as we all said our final goodbyes to each other she pulled me to the side and let me know she had rethought our conversation and felt she might have over stepped. She didn't apologize for what she said, as I feel she believed she was right, but she apologized for stepping on my toes. I actually laughed. I gave her a hug and told her that was the best "I am sorry you took what I had to say badly" apology ever.

Like I said, I respected her and she and I might have become friends eventually. We just ran out of time at the agency. We saw each other a few times after I left and then after the agency closed down but we didn't have the base to continue a close relationship. And our opinions of Scott were too divergent for us to ever become extremely close. I don't regret that. People come in and out of our lives and not all of them become friends. But she was a smart woman. A strong woman. A good mother. A loving wife. And she left behind many who will remember her with respect and fondness.

My heart breaks for her husband and her children. She was much too young to leave them and too young to leave all of us as well. But I hope that there is some comfort for her family and friends to know that those of us she touched will never forget her. She was quite a force to reckon with.

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