It’s been a while. If you are a long-standing member of the CLC Community, you may have noticed that I have not published a blog post in about six weeks. My assumption is that this is much more odious to me than to anyone else, but, just in case you’ve missed my posts, please accept my apologies. Mea culpa! Wish I could say I’d gone fishing… The fact of the matter is, I’ve been a little down as I’ve been waylaid at a funeral or two…
Before you write off this piece as too dark or depressing, allow me to share the two BIG networking lessons that I’ve gleaned as a result of this awful experience:
- If you lose someone who has touched your life, make time to attend his or her funeral and/or to visit with surviving family and friends. You will be glad you did. You will learn something about him/her that you didn’t know before; you will connect or reconnect with others who were similarly touched by that individual; you will gain a modicum of closure that is not possible in any other way. The deceased’s family and friends will never forget that you were there. Never.
- And, no matter what, don’t give up on relationships. Closeness can come and go over the years. Rifts can occur. Allow that to fall away. If someone matters to you, do what you can to ensure he/she is aware of that. Damage may not be able to be repaired, but relationships can endure.
Here’s the backstory…
In mid-December, we suddenly and unexpectedly lost my sweet, funny, wonderful and amazing Uncle Jerry. What a terrific guy – he absolutely could light up any room. It was a serious blow to me – to my whole family.
Then, my mom’s best friend lost her brother, too. Ugh.
A few weeks later, my sister-in-law, Melissa, lost her dad, Jay. Though anticipated, it was no less difficult on her and our whole family.
Next, a cousin, lost her battle with cancer. Truth told, we hadn’t been close in a number of years, but she left this world far too soon.
And, then, this past week, my mom’s childhood friend, Charyl (they met when they were five!), succumbed after a protracted fight against cancer herself. She was both a great friend and a warrior who had earned respect and affection from everyone with whom she interacted. Again, far, far too early to lose her.
So, to say it’s been a rough patch for my family is to put it mildly. I simply have not had the energy or impetus to pen networking ideas for my community. I am sorry. That said, in my attempt to seek any silver lining possible, it is clear that, indeed, there are lessons to be learned… relationships to prop up… memories to celebrate. And, odd as it may seem, there is beauty and closure and community and information to gain from attending funerals.
At Uncle Jerry’s funeral, my son looked around the room, leaned into me and said, “Uncle Jerry sure would’ve liked gathering all these people together; he was really good at that.” Sure enough, I lifted up my head from the third-row pew to see hundreds of people gathered in the standing-room-only chapel. Wow! Even in death, he was still convening people.
Then, this week, at Charyl’s funeral, the lessons were many. I learned a lot about her life that I didn’t know from the prior 46 years of knowing her. Most poignant was the fact that one of her primary tenets was to never give up on relationships – no matter what. Mic drop.
So, I leave you with those two lessons for today and proudly announce, I’m back, CLC Community! Thanks for standing by and not giving up on me. Happy Networking!
P.S. – Today would have been my wonderful father-in-law, Steven Hammer’s, 75th birthday. He, too, was a guy who loved to convene a group and never gave up on relationships. Happy Birthday, Poppi! You are loved and missed.