More than two years ago, I lost a great friend. One day woke up, got up, got changed and as he was ready to leave the house, he simply dropped dead.
He left so unexpecdly I found it hard to believe it was true. It was a shock I was not prepared for. I heard the news on Facebook, his son wrote to me when I was in Orlando on vacation with my family. All I could do was call them and have a quick chat over the phone. I had no chance to say my farewells, I could not be there to pay my respects.
Less than a week later I lost Beth, my friend and counselor. She was taken to hospital in a hurry and never left alive. Soon after that, I lost Ian, another friend, exactly the same way. It was the worst year of my life.
I managed to write tributes to them, Ian and Beth, but never wrote a line here about Simon.
I tried, but my words never came out. I felt like I had something blocking me from saying bye, I could not get closure.
I kept all the e mails we exchanged (sometimes 20 on the same night), I have all photos we took of dinners, parties, visits. But above all, I have my heart full of longing and love for this guy who meant so much to me and my family.
Simon was my mentor, my friend , he was my counselor, my compass. He yelled at me when he thought he had to, he cared for me when I needed. He listened to my concerns, my ramblings, my moaning.He was always there for me. And he laughed. He laughed at me and laughed with me.
He was the guy who gave me my first job in New Zealand. He says that he found it funny when at the end of the interview I asked, : So what now?Are you giving me this job?
He laughed. It was the first time he laughed at me (and with me).
What he never knew is that I did not want that job at all. I had only gone to that interview so Fabio would stop bugging me to find work. I did not want to work in call centers. Did not want, did not want, did not want.
But when he offered me the position, I accepted, I still do not know why. Little did I know this was going to be one of the best jobs of my life. It did not cross my mind this call center would give me the greatest personal and professional experience I've ever had.
In the first month, I hated the work, the company, I hated everything. And every Friday I quit. Got angry about something and quit. And every week he did not accept my resignation, said that day he would not be able to accept, it, but could I please go back the next day? The weekend would pass, my temper would calm down and I would stay one more week. Until the following Friday, when we relived the story, step by step.
I remember two times when he deeply offended me. And he knew exactly what he was doing too...
He once compared me to another employee, who was the biggest performance competition I had. He said:
- Dani is very passionate
- What? What about me? Am I not passionate?
- Not about the job.
I was so pissed off, I made sure I showed him how passionate I was about that job ...
In four years he was promoted three times in the company - and every time he was promoted, I took his position. When he resigned to go to another company, I was once again pissed off - and wanted to go along for his job interviews. I used to say I had to like my future employment too.
The second insult came when I still worked as call center operator. A friend and I were talking and he interrupted us:
- Karin, you'd be great at key accounts (the elite of the call center)
- What about me?
- Not you.
At that time he was managing Key Accounts - months after I was sitting on his chair, holding his position. I showed him who's not good enough for Key Accounts ...
And we fought and fought about it. I always said:
- You see? You know nothing. Who said I could not work in Key Accounts?
- I said you would not be a good operator. Operator...
But the discussion lasted forever. We used to joke I'd be 90 years old, he'd be 110 and we'd still be fighting for the semantics of this discussion. But he cheated, he left much earlier...
When our career paths parted, I continued to call him for advice, to share concerns, to share with him everything that annoyed me. And he would patiently cut my problems into small pieces and return them to be chewed and swallowed.
The guy was everything. Competent, dynamic and always light years ahead of everyone. But he would always leave the office at 5 o'clock. He arrived on time and left on time, he had a life to live, a family to go back to.
And what a life!. Simon cooked, danced, Simon loved partying and enjoyed hiswine. Simon was a super dad, a super husband, a super friend.
I once mentioned to him my mother in law was arriving in Auckland with my children. Without been asked, he went to the airport, took them to the domestic terminal with lots and lots of bags and sent them over to us.
Simon visited us twice in Palmerston North. He met our friends, everyone loved him.
And I had not had the courage to write anything about him until now because I'm never going to be able to describe this enlightened person who crossed my path and left so many memories. My friend, two years after you have left us, I still can not get over it.
When everything is shitty, I want to call and share with you. I want to cry on your shoulder. When I'm happy, jumping with joy, I want to share with you, because I knew it made you happy too.
I love you Si.