Jon and I worked in the same department. Although we worked from different offices/cities, there was always an email here or a call there that kept us connected.
Jon, although at 48, had the energy and enthusiasm of someone much younger. He spoke very casually, whatever the seriousness of the project . Always jovial and cheer-filled, he brought out the smiles and more often the laughs, even when least expected.
He did extremely well at work – took up more responsibilities, learnt new skills easily and passed it on very well too.It came as no surprise to see him on the promotion list announced recently.
He was married to his sweetheart for 11 years. They loved each other, very much so. Although no kids, they did have dogs that were not anything lesser than their own kids.
Jon was one of the fittest people around. He went running every day, twice. He did it with passion, not as a chore.
On that January afternoon, when he took off for his mid-day run on the trail behind the office, nobody thought he would never return.
The reasons are yet to be confirmed, but he collapsed and breathed his last on that trail.
The people who waited for him at the scheduled meeting room, his manager who spoke to him right before his run, his colleagues who laughed at his jokes only minutes ago, his dear wife…Nobody saw this coming.
To say it was a shocker, is an understatement.
I was away on vacation and flying back into town when I read the news on an email.
I gasped loud, unaware of my surroundings and then held back my tears. Took me two full days to digest the fact. ” But..I just met him recently. We had a team dinner together. He was so full of life, so fit, so happy… No way he is dead, No way! “…..“His Wife. He loved her so much. What will she do?”.
It is then that I realized I have one special memory of him- the way he said he loved his wife, out loud. With utmost sincerity. I shared it with few of my close colleagues who knew Jon, and that was all there was to it.
The shock of his demise slowly moved on to become acceptance and I got back into the regular grind of workplace. Until yesterday.
Tracy, a friend from another department brought up Jon in a conversation. I told her about how fondly I remember him and narrated that one little memory of him that stood out. She was immensely touched by the incident and asked -” Have you conveyed this memory to Jon’s wife yet?”
I hadn’t. It did not even occur to me.
“You definitely should share it with his wife. She deserves to know, right?”
I agreed. Sat down and finally wrote the email below to the one person who was in touch with Jon’s wife:
I realized I have something to share. If you are in touch with Jon’s wife, please forward to her. I realize this needs to be told.
We all sat at the dinner table back in October during your team visit to our office. We were having a great time talking , drinking, laughing and generally knowing each other some more. Jon sat right next to me on the table, to my left. Except for occasional meetings, phone calls and emails, I had not known him too well until that evening, when he proved to be the ‘life of the party’.
All smiles with a LOT to make us rip into uncontrolled laughter.
At one point though, the topic steered towards family – kids and spouses. That’s when he said something that I shall ALWAYS associate him with. The one thing that I doubt I will ever see in the eyes/voice of any other man out in public.
He said “ My wife. Oh, I love her. I love my wife. I love her so much”
The pure honesty and sincerity in those words made everyone nearby go silent for a few seconds. It was me who wanted to lighten up the moment and interrupted. The conversation drifted from there.
I have not seen anyone tell out their love for their spouse out in the public to random people , the way he did. It left a mark in me. I even went home to tell that to my husband, told him how rare it is in this world. Shows how special their bond must be.
The moment I read about Jon and his sudden departure, my first thoughts – “Oh no. His Wife. He loved her so much. What will she do?”. My tears were mostly for her and for the man who spoke those words that evening.
It was indeed special.
Please pass on this memory of mine about him to her, if possible.
That email made its way to the person intended. It reached Jon’s wife today.
I heard back from her a one-liner :
” This is Jon’s Valentines Day gift to me. Thank you ”
It is then I registered the perfection of the timing. His message made it’s way to her on February 14th !
Jon, I realized, had conveyed his Love to his dear wife..through me. On Valentines Day 🙂
This has been by far the most rewarding feeling of love-and-its- reaches for me on this special day.
Happy Valentines Day people.
If you love someone, say it out loud.