On the Many Ways People Leave our Lives

On co-facilitators

Today I arrived at work to hear the deeply saddening news that my dear colleague an, friend had passed away. This was so unexpected that it took nearly two hours for me to understand. For all of us it was a shock and the job of picking up and carrying on with the carrying on was an ordeal. Especially given our line of work. As the staff at a community resource drop-in center for people with HIV/AIDS loss is not new to us or the people who come in form meals, classes and other services. So not only do we have to carry on for ourselves but we must carry on for those we are here to support. So we carried on with our day and were there as much as we could be for our community members. Near the end of the day I was quietly collating and sorting papers into folders and supplies into bags for the first day of our 13 week mind-body course. The last time I did this task I did it with my co-worker who was also my co-facilitator in the program. An already tedious task became entirely not fun. I sat and recalled how my friend and co-facilitator would make up games to pass the time and crack jokes to make the task go more quickly. He was a joy to work with and as the news settles the more I realize that he was a joy to co-facilitate with as well. And now I am sitting with the loss of a friend and a co-facilitator and I’m finding that I never quite appreciated the weight and importance of a co-facilitator relationship. We didn’t just co-facilitate every now and again. We were a pair. He was my co-facilitator and I was his. That defined us and as I sit here now I can look back and see how what a special bond can be created between two people who are working as co-facilitators in an ongoing way. We grew into the program and curriculum together, teaching each other and helping each other to learn. He made me feel so skilled and competent through his feedback and support and also through the way we grew to complement each other in our different approaches. We became a near perfect balance and our flow was uninterrupted and natural.

Tomorrow class starts and I’m with another co-worker, who is also dear to me, but who is not my co-facilitator. It is interesting…the many ways people leave our lives.

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Some things I know

These things I know to be true:

I know I am running behind when I leave my room in the morning and all the cereal is gone because everyone else has already eaten breakfast.

I know that I am running a little late when I leave the house and the trash guys have already come.

I know that I am quickly approaching official tardiness when there are no other bikes on the bike path and very little traffic at the Green Street T station.

I know things have only gotten worse when the nice folks who push shopping carts piled high with cans and bottles are working their way down the bike path by the tennis courts (its ok if I see them on Columbus Ave)

I know that I am officially and completely late when the construction workers building the new dorms for Northeastern are all sitting on the steps to the Ruggles T stop eating breakfast.

I know that all hope is lost when I get to work and all the receptionists are out on the first smoke break of the day.

Phew. Being grown up and trying to get to work on time is a real pain the ass.