Monday, July 25, 2011

#107 - An Ending and Perhaps a Beginning

"We'll always have Paris." - Humphrey Bogart to Ingrid Bergman in Casablanca
"Louis, I think this is the start of a beautiful friendship." - Humphrey Bogart to Claude Rains in Casablanca

I was reminded of these two lines this weekend with the news that a co-worker and friend is leaving at the end of the week and moving to Pennsylvania. I'm not sure, but I may have been one of the last to hear the news. Apparently, I swing on the wrong grapevine.

Shannon is a friend in the Facebook sense, although not in the more traditional sense. We don't hang out together. She's never been to our house or vice versa. Still, I consider her a friend and one whose presence around the workplace I will miss a great deal.

One of the things I will miss most about Shannon is her smile. She has one of the warmest, brightest, and most genuine smiles I have been privileged to share. Suffice to say, if you were in a dark space in need of light, you could ask Shannon to smile and you would have all the light you need. There is also a sort of Cheshire cat quality about her smile, almost as if she knows something you don't and is debating whether to let you in on the secret.

I imagine that for a few weeks after Shannon's departure, the workplace will be a colder place. In thinking about this post, I had a flashback to the descriptions in the Harry Potter movies of how people felt after the dementors had come through, as if the joy had been sucked out of the world. A little over the top, but I  know that for a little while, laughter will seem a little more hollow around the workplace.

It is an undeniable truth that in life things change. Things change all the time, and nowhere is this more true than in Corporate America. Fortunately, Shannon's departure is not because of a decision to downsize but is due to a desire to reunite her family all in one location.

But change sometimes hurts. In my case, it will ache for a little while. I have been fortunate to have known a handful of wonderful women in my life. One, I have been married to for nearly 18 years, and she has the patience of Job where I am concerned. Another is the person whose job I took but who then became one of my closest friends. Shannon is among that group.

Come Friday, Shannon will be gone but not forgotten. As she said to me in an e-mail Sunday, "we will always have Facebook." It isn't Paris, but it is, I hope, the start of a beautiful friendship.