Today, is a sad day when my mentor, also a close friend was laid to rest. I’ve known him for more than 2.5 decades. The kind of friend whom you don’t need to keep in touch often (rarely, actually) but when met, catching up on family, kids, work, etc., came naturally.
A brilliant person, visionary and quick-thinking with great sense of humour. He roared like a lion when angry. All that I learned and practiced throughout my corporate career till today, especially on marketing, I learned them ifrom this guru. I’ll always remember him as a great leader. Of course, he was not a saint. He had his shortcomings, in a big way, well…he was always big in everything he did. Let’s say I adopted what’s good and learned from the not so good experience.
I still can’t believe that I’ve lost a close friend last night. But, I’m glad that he was with his beloved family when it happened. His elder son mentioned that his late father looked at peace. May he rest in peace. If he were here to answer me, he’ll definitely say “I surely will!”. I pray for his lovely wife and children he left behind. I’m sure he had done and planned everything for them to carry on in his absence.
We all know that life is fragile. One minute you’re talking with someone and the next, he/she is gone. Like in my case, after meeting late last year, we promised to meet again once everything settled down after the new year. Supposed to meet again in February but our travel plans and work came in between and therefore, we had to postpone them. Now, there won’t be any chance for a chat over coffee anymore.
Let’s now talk about friendship. There are friends whom we stay close and in touch with, regularly; Friends whom we hardly keep in touch though staying in the same city or state. And, friends whom we can’t meet because we are residing very far apart, like in different states or countries. Mostly, we keep in touch more with our Facebook friends than others (family, classmates, schoolmates, etc). Facebook friends become our regular buddies whilst our buddies have become once-in-a-while friends. Some, lost touch altogether!
Remember we always tell our friends, “let’s catch up”, “keep in touch”, “hope to see you again”, etc? I find them to be meaningless but merely polite way to say goodbye for now. How many of us really make an effort to keep in touch? How many of us really call one another to make time to meet up even for a while, face to face?
With the development of technology, the emergence of social media and short messages, we hardly meet face to face physically. We get to keep in touch through our social media status updates. Everyone is busy. No one seems to take a breather anymore. No time for friends, sadly. I know deep down, when we get older, really older, we need our friends. Friends to smile with us, talk with us, listening to our voices and laughters, exchanging hugs and all.
I hope it is not too late for us who are still living and breathing, to say keep in touch and really mean it and do it. We don’t know when our time is up. Not all get advanced warning. Let us not regret missing the chance to meet up for coffee or tea for a short chatz or just to relax in the company of good friends.
Let us make time for friendship. If you haven’t done so for a while now, pick up the phone and start filling up the calendar, even if it is just for that once a week event. Meet up and celebrate friendship. Say what you want to say to the person when he/she is still alive and can appreciate it. Let’s not wait till the the person is no longer there for friends to gather and missing the vacant seat.
As for my mentor cum close friend, I know you’ll be in a good place. You shouldn’t have said you wanted to retire at the age of 59. It also happens to be your year of birth. Anyway, nothing surprised you, right? You always believed that when the time has come, it’ll just (snap fingers)! All in God’s hands. Farewell, dear friend. Don’t work too hard up there, you hear.
~ Alice N.