I know you’ve all heard me bitch incessantly about my 32 years at the University of Oregon. Early in my career, there were a lot of things I loved about my jobs there. When I moved to the Economics Department in 1988, I loved my job and was sure that I would stay there until the day I retired. I did actually do that. I grew to hate many aspects of that job, largely due to the decentralization of many duties at the University, which just piled more and more work on my desk and the desks of my secretaries, with no increase in compensation and no increase in staffing. Sure, there were people there who bugged me too, but my favorite part of my job was getting to know some of the faculty and their families. I really did like and care for many of those folks (and yes, some of them were NOT my favorites, but we won’t talk about them). So, since I rescued myself by retiring early, I like hearing about the good things that happen to my favorite folks . . . how their careers develop, how their kids are doing, whether they’ve been promoted to full professor, etc. I’ve spoken to a few of them who have realized that there is more to life than work, work, work all the time, and I’m cheering them on towards retirement.
Unfortunately, the night before last, one of my favorite people died in her sleep. She was a part-time faculty member for the department, spouse of one of the faculty who, at one time, was my boss (he was a fairly good boss), and mother of a very charming young man who has gone on to be head oenologist at one of the local wineries. She was several years younger than me, and still working hard at her job. She was one of those women with a quick wit, a mischievous sparkle in her eyes, and a great sense of kindness and fair play. I admired her greatly and I am so very sad that she will never get to know that time when you get to stop working, put your feet up (or set them on another path) and just get to enjoy your family and your life. She is gone too soon and will be greatly missed by many.
So. Please go out there and live every day as though it were your last. To my knowledge, my friend was not ill, and her death was very unexpected. You never know when your hourglass will run out of sand. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Live responsibly and be kind, but grab for all the gusto you can. RIP Cathy. I pray your family will find peace with your early departure. I know I’m just stunned by it.