Monday, May 30, 2011

Enough said....

I am nothing special, of this I am sure. I am a common man with common thoughts and I've led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten, but I've loved another with all my heart and soul, and to me, this has always been enough.


Thursday, May 26, 2011

I'm tired.......

I'm tired of:
  • Saying, "It is what it is."
  • Keeping a stiff upper lip.
  • Being brave.
  • Carrying the load.
  • Wearing the armor.
  • Faking it.
  • Hiding the pain.
  • Walking funny.
  • Seeing the look on friends' faces.
  • Asking for help.
  • Feeling frail.
  • Not being able to smell the honeysuckle.
  • Being afraid.
  • Not knowing when.
  • Moving slowly.
  • Avoiding people.
  • Being such a wimp and blogging about it.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Gross Miscalculation.......

Every month for the last ten plus years I have held a meeting with my Store Managers and key people to review sales, introduce new people and products, and make any important announcements. These meetings, though only a couple of hours long, required tons of preparation and an energetic presentation on my part. For the last year, as my symptoms became more difficult to manage, I grew to dread the event.

It is difficult to mask dread and be a motivational speaker.

In preparing my Power Point slides for our May meeting I inserted this image at the end of my presentation with the intent of announcing that this was to be MY last meeting. As I rehearsed my thoughtful, inspirational, motivatingly instructional (in my mind) spiel, I would inevitably reach the final "That's all Folks" slide and my emotions would begin to swell at the thought that such a meaningful part of my life was about to end.

Many (most) men define themselves by what they do for a living. Indeed, historically, even our surnames were derived from our jobs: Shoemaker, Carpenter, even Smith (skilled-worker). Choosing to quit work under ANY circumstance would have been difficult for me. Now it is nearly intolerable.

I finally decided that I would only use the slide and make the announcement if I felt I was in a state of mind where I could say the words with strength, enthusiasm, and with a smile on my face. I made a gross miscalculation!

The meeting went well. I was prepared and had the self confidence that comes only from experience. As I finished the final topic I took measure of my self-control and made the decision to say the words out loud. The slide flashed onto the screen and I said, "This will be the last meeting that I'll attend." I continued as if my voice was coming from a place in me that could not feel. I explained that I had other things in my life that I needed to accomplish in the time I had left and closed with a "That's all Folks."

For a brief moment I thought I'd made it through the ordeal unscathed. I had never considered the impact my words would have on the men in the room. Some were more than co-workers. Some were friends. Some I had mentored, others I had coached through difficult times in their lives . One was my son.

One by one they came to me with hugs, handshakes, and halting words that I cannot recall. The floodgates opened. I turned and faced the wall lest they see their leader crumble.