I used to be a desk jockey in corporate America and had several dozen sales reps who came courting.
I became close friends with a handful of them and continue to keep in touch with three or four of them still, despite leaving that job about a year and a half ago.
I found out one of my sales reps died recently. He was relatively a young man… about 45. When I heard the news it sucked the breath out of me for a second. And it was like my eyes were no longer looking at the road but searching inside my brain to make sense of it as well as reliving memories.
We had gone to several Astros games together and cheered our team to victory. We took my daughter a few times and he treated her like a princess the few games she went to, buying her whatever she wanted. One time buying her, he insisting against my urging to not buy it, a pink Astros baseball cap.
There were lunches, laughing, jokes, shared stress over projects… and speaking of, many a time he bailed my ass out by turning a job on a dime for me. Man he was good. He was really good at what he did. And we had become friends apart from our business relationship.
As i snapped back to, I kinda knew why and how he must have died as my friend (and someone who has become like a sister to me) Lillet continued.
He had a habit he couldn’t shake and it was his demise. He drank himself to death.
Lillet asked if I was ok and said she was terribly sorry she hadn’t told me sooner. She thought I knew.
He died about four months ago. No one told me. I didn’t get to go to his funeral. I didn’t get to say goodbye.
I’ll miss you Tom. I hope you have found peace.