Yesterday,my co-workers took me out to lunch. This was a way to mark my leaving, and the only one I felt comfortable with. Usually, when someone leaves the county, they organize a cake and an open house sort of thing, but I didn't want that and my friends knew that. Instead, we sat and ate and laughed and reminisced and told stories--and that was wonderful.
How do I say good bye to people who have saved my ass countless times, were fun to work with, and taught me the job? When Ben was sick and payroll had to be posted, Jen did it. When I needed a hearing set and it was too late to do it tomorrow, Bev or Mel would do it. When I got behind on the delinquency notices (oh, the irony of that!) Jen and Martha got it caught up, and continued to do it. When the vouchers needed to be done during an extended absence of a staff member, Kathy did it. Martha continued to do the Guardianship reviews to help out Mel and Bev who were new to their jobs. Monica took on more and more tasks and learned them fast as the need grew, all while answering that ceaselessly ringing phone and greeting people with that luminous smile. There are many more examples, but it happened so often and was such a fluid process, it would be impossible to list all the times someone in that crew stepped up.
When a question came up, there was an open spirit of communication between us. It was understood that problems could be solved by talking it out, and we usually managed to do that. When we didn't know an answer, out came the Estates Code, or the Mental Health Code, or the Court Rules, and we figured it out. We decided together how to change office procedure, or what not to change.
And then there has been the fun: the jokes, the laughter, the parties for each other on our birthdays, the party they threw for Ben when he was just six weeks old. And the hard times where we stood together and supported each other: Kathy's illness and surgery, the heart-wrenching loss of Gabe, Bev's health difficulties, Mel's school work and exams, the various and sundry smaller things that happen where people get hurt and are comforted by the people they work with.
These women have been a true team. I have been working with them during some of the biggest changes of my life, and their caring and competence has been the only constant. I will miss them all so much, it's impossible to really say goodbye.
So lunch was a good thing.