In the early evening of December 13th I was trying to balance a retirement party for a dear acquaintance and former colleague, and dinner with my future mother-in-law. A meeting at work ran late and I decided to skip the retirement party, rationalizing to myself, "I'm terrible at big parties (which is true) and I can make a date to see my friend later."
The person whose retirement party I missed had a heart attack the following day, on Friday, December 14th. He was hospitalized, and died eleven days later, on Christmas morning. His name was Peter Lee.
I never sent Peter a card.
I'll never have the opportunity to catch up with Peter one-on-one afterwards.
He wasn't a close friend. But I'm pissed that I didn't stand up for myself and leave that work meeting when I said I would leave the work meeting. Instead, I let the slow-talking consultant take an extra 25 minutes of my time, when I had made it clear I didn't have the time, to reiterate points to the assembled group that I already knew. I did this because I had been arguing with the consultant about the soundness of his practice and his inability to define his deliverables and his timelines ahead of time. Because I felt bad about being firm with him on the phone, I politely acquiesced when he took extra time at the meeting on December 13th.
And now I've missed the opportunity to tell Peter Lee how much I appreciated working with and learning alongside him.
I'm pissed at myself for once again letting my work relationships get in the way of my life relationships.