Friday, September 27, 2013

Old people (the end?)

Last year I posted two entries 'Old people' and 'Old people (continued)' about Henk, the 80+-year-old who joined our firm as a consultant. Two months ago he called me to tell his health was deteriorating rather quickly. He wasn't able to focus his thoughts for more then ten minutes and he felt that in this situation he couldn't be useful to us any longer.

Two weeks ago we received a message that Gramps had moved on to the next stage of his journey and yesterday I got a lovely letter from his daughter thanking us for the joy we had brought her father during this last year of his life. She wrote that by being involved with us Henk had returned to being the father she used to know. A man with a passion and a purpose. A man who would tell his children stories about his work. Romanticizing them a little but capturing their attention. Humbled and proud I guess were the emotions I felt.

You can imagine that when I shared the letter during lunch tears flowed and stories about Gramps were shared. Vivianne, who worked with him the most, was telling about the contributions he had made to her work when someone, perhaps jokingly, suggested to post a job vacancy at several homes for the elderly. That idea turned into a plan and this afternoon, whilst I was writing a thank you letter to Henk's daughter, Viv wrote a job description.

To be continued?

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The list that doesn't exist

I can't remember which movie brought it on but years ago Nathalie and I had a discussion about which 5 of her friends I would like to sleep with and vice versa.
Of course this was a mere hypothetical exercise in possibilities but it was entertaining. Number one on my list was the obvious choice. A woman men don't fight over, well at least not over how attractive she is. Only downside I can think of is the fact she carries the same name I do. Although hers is the female spelling my thought is that Renee and René can get confusing and you can end up feeling as if you're talking to yourself.

Anyway, why I brought this up is that yesterday at a gathering with friends we finally ended up chatting. Till now every time we were at the same location she either was surrounded by men trying to impress her or guarded by the friend of the moment. She also has some sort of build in defensive attitude with which she distances herself from others so further then a 'Hi, how are you?' it never went.

Yesterday however I was sitting in one of the two real comfy chairs and she ended up in the adjoining one when she was asked to shift over. When I asked how she was doing she told me she was single again. I told her that wasn't really an answer and she looked at me and smiled. It became a two hour discussion about whatever you can think of. Places we'd been to. Good restaurants. Men. Women. Children you name it.

When Nathalie gestured we'd be going soon Renee thanked me for the conversation. I must have looked a little puzzled because she began to explain that she hardly ever had a conversation with a man who didn't want to either end up in her bed or impress her. I immediately remembered the discussion Nath and I did have years ago and smiled. "You're on top of my list that doesn't exist." She thought about that for a moment and turned to Nath. "I don't think I'm telling you something new but you have a good one here."

Nath's 'Mwah' could not hurt my feelings.