Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Anticipatory Grief

I have a co-worker who I am immensely fond of. I respect her integrity, enjoy her sense of humor, and feel supported by her as we work together on team projects. In a workplace that is rampant with neurotic politics, she is one of the precious few I can trust absolutely, and never feel I have to "watch my back" around. Working with Megan makes the job infinitely better. We talk about all kinds of stuff and have developed a rich friendship that makes both of our work lives way better than they would be in the absence of that bond.

However, sometime in the next six months or so, Megan will be leaving the college. She and her husband have been wanting to start a family for some time now. They have been married a couple years and are ready to invite a new spirit into their lives. A couple months ago she got the news there is a bun in the oven. For her sake, I could not be more pleased. Megan will be a terrific mother, and I know this is a life path that means a great deal to her.

For my sake, I am mortified. I can't even imagine going to work there every day without her there to help carry the load. From a practical standpoint, she will be VERY difficult to replace. Trying to run the projects we are mutually involved in with out her very capable contribution will be a grim task. Beyond that, I will deeply miss my pal.

We work out together every day at lunch time and laugh at each other's jokes. In the summer time we take walks up to the pond behind the ag building to check out the fish and talk about stuff we'd never say in the building where others might hear. We have a common faith, and both teach in the children's organization or our respective congregations. So we often share insights gleaned from working with the kids or funny stories about the crazy stuff they sometimes say or do.

Even if we get a very capable replacement for Megan in terms of the job role, having her gone is going to leave a huge hole in my heart. While I do adore her in many ways, we are not connected socially. We live in different counties and are at very different points in our lives. We have a work friendship. That is rich and wonderful, but it really doesn't carry over outside of that. When she leaves the job, I'm pretty sure she will be lost to me.

Oh sure, we'll sort of keep in touch through e-mail and may occasionally give each other a call. But I've moved on myself too many times to have any illusions that we will maintain anything even remotely close to what we have now.

So my heart is grieving for her loss, even though she is still there for now.
I'm trying to take each day as a gift, to stay focused on appreciating all I can about her now - and to pick her brain about all she knows about the work projects that will be left dangling in her absence.

But mostly I am in mourning that my friend will soon be going away.

Work is going to be a much bleaker environment without my pal.


Marie said...

I'm sorry for your upcoming loss. You can't just call them "work friends" when you spend eight hours a day with them -- sometimes that's more than you spend with your family. Losing good coworkers is huge. Some of my closest friends are friends from my previous job, which I left four years ago.

If it's any comfort, the book club is populated largely by my former coworkers, a few of whom have small children at home. They don't always have time to participate, but they make an effort as a way of staying in touch.

Jaquandor said...

I know exactly what you mean. I have a dear friend at work whose departure, were that to come to pass, would break my heart.

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