I have to prefix that this is not my normal post. I was reading an article about traveling in Ireland and it reminded me of Bob, an Irish descend.
Bob was my professor in graduate school. He gave me a few "A"s and I hated it when he gave me a "B". I was in a few of his classes and he would normally not say much. He'd ask questions to "probe" around and see if he would hit a sparkle from someone in his class.
Bob was a cancer survivor. From all I could see, he looked normal. He said he had cut down on red meat.
A few of us students grew close to him. We would share aspirations with him and ask questions about our career. As usual, Bob would not say much. He'd listen and smile.
After graduation, life took us in a wind-swirl. But we kept in touch with Bob. I'd get an e-mail from him once every few months or years. I'd be so happy to reply right away and to only hear from him again months or years later. Every time I changed job, Bob would be happy to be my reference and not ask or say much.
Last summer, a friend mentioned that she got an e-mail about keeping Bob in the prayer at the end of 2009. I said to myself, if anything happened to Bob, it'd be so significant that I'd know about it.
So today, when I realized that it's been a really long time since I heard from Bob, I went and searched for Bob's e-mail. The last that I heard from him was an e-mail forward in June 2009. I decided to take one step further and Google searched him.
My heart started wrenching and my stomach churning. I so hoped that the obituary on the top was not you, Bob. When I saw your picture, I was so not ready for the emotions that follow.
Bob, you've always known me better than I do. Through years of growth, I now finally understand the wisdom that you so casually uttered.
I remember, one time, when I so excitedly told you about the offers that I got from two of the "Big 4". You replied, "go to the one with the higher signing bonus". At the time, it seemed such an inappropriate attitude to such a serious decision. But, seeing me putting myself through the wild chase in the rat race, did you know that I was meant for something else? And yet, you watched and let me go through life in my chosen path.
Bob, I am finally where my heart is and, seriously, I don't take myself that seriously anymore. But Bob, all the learning in life did not prepare me for this moment.
I'm confused. How can I still have years of e-mails from you when you are not with us anymore? How can you check out early when you are one of the influences that shaped me into who I am today?
Bob, I know it will be hard to accept for a long time that you are somewhere else now. And I want to thank you for being there all these years.
I know you loved horses. Do you have horses up there? Here's one for you, captured and processed with my new found talent/passion (and hope that you have internet up there too):