Sunday, February 6, 2011

Gone But Not Forgotten

A few weeks ago, I received an email from the daughter of a man I once dated.  The news was not good.  He had died unexpectedly in December.  She was in New York, going through his email contacts and found my name.  She wanted me to know there was to be a memorial service at the NYU Alumni Club in the Princeton Club in Manhattan.  

I was shocked by his death as he and I reconnected a few years ago when another broadcast person from San Diego, where I'd worked, had died.   He was completely surprised and happy to hear from me and we'd been emailing ever since.  

This man was a leader in the radio industry in which I worked for 28 years.   I met him early in my career when I was a buyer for a nationally known photofinishing company.  I was a client for several years as I was in charge of radio and newspaper advertising in markets across the U.S.  

He courted me after I was divorced and we had a relationship which, when I look back, was one that filled a void on both sides.  It never took off but we remained good friends for many years.  We lost touch until I saw his email address and contacted him two years ago.  He was in good health, happy, retired and completely absorbed by his grandchildren.  A different man than the work-obsessed person I first knew.  In those days, he was divorced, his children far away and his life dedicated to his job and probably climbing the ladder to reach the pinnacle, president of the company.  That always bothered me. 

In the few weeks since his passing, I learned he became a man dedicated to his children and grandchildren.  Once he retired, he was free to resume his relationship with them.  I heard from his daughter twice;  I was also contacted by another close friend of his, someone I did not know who worked for him.  She filled me in on her positive experience with him as her boss and mentor. 

His death represents the passage of an era that has been long gone but one I recall with great fondness.  The broadcast/advertising industry was so much fun.  I was lucky enough to be part of it during the last great years; to experience the incredible growth and diversity of radio stations before the corporations took over reducing radio to the "one size fits all" formats you hear today. 

We had fun.  The work was challenging and rewarding.  We enjoyed expense accounts, lavish parties, trips, weekend retreats, in depth ongoing training.  People were free to be creative, try new things.  Most of us loved our jobs.  I remember driving to work most mornings and thanking God for my life.

The imprint a person leaves on another can be life changing.  He was the only person with whom I was
involved I stayed in touch with.  That says something about us both.  



DJan said...

I'm sorry for your loss. It's wrenching to have people we communicate with sometimes not being there when we reach out for them. It's happened to me, too.

I also loved my job, but I am so happy in retirement. Not having any grandchildren, I have invested much of my time here in the land of blogs.

Judy said...

It is wonderful that you got to go full circle and meet up again later in life with friend. Nice to hear about the "old days" when work was rewarding and fun.

JC said...

So sorry for you loss but what great memories you have ...

Mama Zen said...

I'm sorry for you loss. I'm glad that the two of you were able to reconnect before he died.

Reya Mellicker said...

I am so sorry for your loss. It is a shock, isn't it? Inconceivable. Thank you for writing about him here.

What is remembered, lives.

Nancy said...

So sorry. It is always such a shock to hear someone in our own age group has passed - especially unexpectedly. What a great career you had!

Bee's Blog said...

I came here from Star's page and I'm so glad that I did. I am sorry to hear that you lost a friend and so suddenly - that always makes us think of our own own mortality.

Thank you for such an interesting read.

Mmm said...

Oh wow, this is such a poignant writing. I can feel the tugs of the heart adn memory here. I am sorry for you to hear that loss but glad this man found in the end the things that truly mattered adn got the chance to be a great grandpa no doubt.

fiftyodd said...

This post strikes a chord with me. The man I had thought my soulmate and from whom I parted in great anguish 35 years ago - found me on FAcebook. We've been e-mailing (on FAcebook) now for 18 months and have worked through most of what had been unsaid and painful at the time. We are now nearly at the end of our correspondence and its been a marvellously healing process for both of us. We both eventually married and I have grandchildren. I'm glad this contact happened because for ten years after I married my husband, I still dreamed of 'the other'. No more. Thank you FAcebook.


by Cole Scott