Friday, September 24, 2010

A Tribute from a Friend-of-Jeb

Sometimes, in order to move forward, we must remember the past, even if it is bittersweet. Below you will find a tribute that was written by an FOJ in September 2006, after Jeb left his post working with students (and faculty) in higher education in Oregon to move to Kansas. This September, that FOJ is welcoming a new cohort of students, and let me know that she is thinking of us by sharing the tribute with me once again. I am warmed...comforted...and I hope her sentiment resonates with all of you who have experienced loss.

Dear Diary,

I got up after a fitful night of sleep. Anticipation of the first day of classes always finds me excited and anxious. Everything is possible. It is a new beginning. I dress in the morning in my best khaki pants, knowing there will be some tail-wagging, heavy breathing, and leaning when I arrive on campus. There are others, beside myself, who look forward to seeing old familiar faces!

When I finally find a parking place in the busy lot I grab my full tote bag and head into the building. When I put things away in my office, I notice the empty space in the bottom drawer where there used to be a chew toy. The morning goes by slowly and is full of phone calls and prepping for my courses. There are no heavy sighs behind me but I continue.

I eat lunch and remind myself to get up out of my chair and take a walk. I grab a plastic bag and put it in my pocket. As I head out of the building I am disappointed that those I meet along the sidewalk do not light up, smile, stoop and say "good dog". It's been a hard summer so I guess I'm just not as attractive as I used to be. As I walk the familiar trail around Cascades Hall I feel a tug on my arm and the impulse to go "off-road" and smell every juniper, sage, and rabbit brush along the way. I stop and take the bag out of my pocket and pick up a couple of pinecones and knot the bag.

Upon returning to my office, I look down and notice that my pants still have a crease and are not covered in hair. I guess I'll be able to wear them again later in the week if I don't drop coffee in my lap this afternoon.

Somehow, this start-up day just isn't doing it for me. I guess there is something missing but I can't quite put my finger on it.

Maybe tomorrow...

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