Can you believe it is the middle of October? Where has time gone? I feel like I was just at HR Florida, but that was almost two months ago. But a lot has happened in two months. I’ve had a lot of blog ideas run through my head in two months. But life has found a way to keep me from having time to write; which is sad because I love to write. But as I wrap up my weekend, I decided to spend an hour writing instead of watching television. Please know, this is a longer blog than normal and it is rather emotional, but if you can stick through it, know that it would mean a great deal to me.
WARNING: SAD POST AHEAD
Just over a month ago, the world lost an incredible person. I know, the world loses incredible people every day. But on September 12, 2019, in a little town in Wisconsin, my friend, mentor, and role model, lost her life to stage four stomach cancer. I haven’t been able to talk about it or write about up until now; and I’m still not sure I can, but I’m going to try, for Callie. Just like the rest of us that knew Callie, we were all devastated to find out about her diagnosis back in July. But we were all confident that she’d be able to fight it and would come out on top. Sadly, just a couple short months later, she lost her battle.
A lot of people didn’t know this, but I thought the world of Callie. She and I had only known each other for about a year and a half, but I feel like I knew her for a lifetime. She and I met through the SHRM Young Professional Advisory Council (YPAC.) It was a dream of mine since I found out about the YPAC to be able to serve on it. My first year was also Callie’s first year leading the group. I knew right away that she was someone I wanted to be friends with. In fact, not only did I want to be her friend, I wanted to be just like her. I admired everything about Callie; her drive, determination, and authenticity. I even told her at SHRM18, that I wanted to be her when I grew up. She was in a career at age 30 that I had dreamed about but thought I was too young to be in. When I asked her how she did it, she said she just jumped. I’ve been trying to live in that mentality ever since.
Then during our second year on the YPAC, Callie devoted time out of her busy schedule to have one-on-one calls with the YPAC members to talk about anything and everything. It didn’t have to be about the YPAC; it could be about work, home, animals, school, anything! She was always so selfless. Callie made time for us and I don’t know about the
rest of the group, but I appreciated her so much for that. In fact, there’s a lot that I appreciated Callie for. Callie believed in me. She saw something in me and gave me so many opportunities to grow and shine. She recommended me to be a SHRM blogger, she gave me an opportunity to lead a networking session for students at SHRM National. She chose me to be the step challenge team captain too. At the end of last year, I told Callie I still wanted to continue with the YPAC even though I had a lot on my plate. However I wasn’t sure I could take on any leadership responsibilities, mostly because I didn’t want to let her down if I couldn’t fulfill my duties. But as the year went on, I found myself raising my hand on initiatives if she asked because I wanted to help her. I felt it was the least I could do for her with everything she did for me. I loved her dearly and I miss her like crazy. But one thing that is driving me crazy, I don’t remember if I told her how much I appreciated her.
When Callie’s family announced when her Celebration of Life would be, I knew in my heart that I needed to be there. It might sound crazy; traveling from Florida to Wisconsin to attend, but it was where I needed to be. I had someone looking out for me though,
because typically I would never have enough extra money laying around to make that type of last-minute trip happen. But because of some planning for other expenses that I found out I didn’t actually need, I was able to allocate those funds to my trip. I was able to afford a flight into Milwaukee, about an hour and a half away from the services. Hotels in Milwaukee were also reasonable; but to add a rental car on top of that, I just couldn’t do it. But through the power of networking and blogging, I found out a great friend, Mary Williams, would be driving through Milwaukee to get to the services and she was kind enough to pick me up. I was able to make it after all. Thank you, Mary. ❤
At the services, I visited with Andrew, a fellow YPAC member. He and I had a conversation about how short life is and how we just don’t show our appreciation to people the way that we should. We realize that we take time for granted and think that we can just say thank you tomorrow. But what if someone doesn’t have a tomorrow? We have absolutely no way of knowing when a person’s life is going to come to an end. And I hate to sound so cryptic, it’s definitely not something I like to think about. But it is true. We need to stop taking life and time for granted, and we need to make sure that the people that we care about know that we care and that we appreciate them.
So, as I wrap this up, I want to challenge each and every one of you to pick a day of the week (i.e. Wednesday.) Each Wednesday, I want you to reach out to someone in your life that you appreciate and tell them! It doesn’t need to be for the whole world to see; just send them a text, pick up the phone and call them, or send them a written note. If you want to do it more often, great! My goal has been to reach out to someone daily. It has been incredible. And do you want to know the most unbelievable part about it? Almost every time I have reached out to someone, they have thanked me because they really needed to hear that on that particular day. I didn’t know that before I reached out, but knowing that I could make even a small difference in their life, even if just for a moment, it made my heart happy.
So, make your heart happy, along with someone else’s! Call, text, write to your friends, family, colleagues, mentors, role models, etc. and let them know today and as often as you can that they are appreciated and that you care. It will only take a few minutes out of your day, but it could brighten someone else’s entire day. And never again will you have to worry that you didn’t get a chance to tell them what they meant to you before it was too late.
Callie, I miss you and I appreciate you. I’m glad you aren’t suffering anymore. #CallieStrong