Gone too Soon

Dear Friends,

Last month a colleague shared with me the death of a friend and fellow fundraiser. It was truly a shock that this vibrant, talented person had died. I was out of town for the funeral and service but carried thoughts of them in my heart and still do. At the time, no one knew why they died.

I had been a friend and mentor (as were many others) to this person and most recently they had been in touch for a job search. They had left a position they had for many years – seeking new opportunities, despite the economy. We had chatted about the resume and market and planned to meet when I was back from travel. Two weeks later I received the call they had died.

Yesterday I was told they committed suicide. I cannot tell you the shock I am still feeling from this news. That this wonderful spirit should feel so depressed, alone and unable to live any longer is too sad to imagine. I can only remember them at social and professional functions as the light in the room, a smile you could see from forever, insight and thoughtfulness way beyond their years. Now gone….forever and too soon.

We are living in challenging times. It’s winter in Chicago and the news is all about checking on folks to be sure they are warm enough or have food-check on your neighbors and beyond. I think we need to remember this all the time. We need to stay closer to those we know and care about, friends, family and colleagues – especially as the new economy continues to provide challenges even the most successful are unprepared for. No matter how strong or successful – the loss of a job, a job search taking too long, responsibilities for a family or self, a health crisis can become too much. You know, I can’t tell you what the signs are. I just know our friends and family need to know we are there – unconditionally – for a good cry, laugh, coffee or couch. All things large and small keep us connected to one another. And when we feel isolation – every little thing is no longer little. Our friends need to know we are there always, not just during holiday and in good times.

I am sorry I was not able to meet with them last month – and I don’t kid myself it would have made a difference because that makes this about me – not them. But I can assure you, I am not putting off any meetings and want to be available when friends and family call….for anything.

As my friend who shared the sad news said, “May God have mercy on them and their family.”

4 thoughts on “Gone too Soon

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