I just got back from a memorial service for one of our agents. Vicki was diagnosed with terminal cancer only a few weeks ago and met it head on with grace and dignity. She was supported by many friends and her family as we would all hope to be if we find ourselves in the same unfortunate situation.
What struck me, as I listened to her friends and family so eloquently tell stories about her humor, kindness, intelligence and ability to make an out-of-this-world-good chicken salad, was the realization that I missed the opportunity to REALLY get to know Vicki. I saw her almost every day in the office and often we would commiserate about a deal that had gone sour or a difficult client. I knew that she had 2 sons in their 20s, was divorced after being married 25 years and just last summer finally took her dream vacation by going to Greece with her boys. I didn't put in the effort into to getting to know her better, mostly because my focus in the office has been managing and growing my business. I regret that after hearing these intimate, funny stories about her that I only knew her on the surface, co-worker to co-worker, water cooler kind of stuff. Watching her sons stoically memorialize her with humor and reverance, I saw Vicki in a whole different light.
So, thank you, Vicki. You tought me a lesson this week. I will make more of effort to know the people I interact with regularly on a more personal level. And I wish I had another chance to taste your famous chicken salad.