So in another lifetime I worked at a (most-of-the-time) great job in the corporate world. The work was steady, the pay was good, the people I interacted with ranged from fantastic to awful (much like life, I suppose). But there was one person, above all, who I spent many years with and who changed me and showed me what a strong woman looks like.
Although Miss Deborah and I knew each other casually from working on the same floor, we ultimately worked side-by-side and I learned the true nature of her personality and beliefs. She was a tireless worker who commuted a long distance each way every day to get to the job. She was resilient, persistent, dedicated and totally responsible. She was the ideal employee in every way.
When my great kid was very young, he’d come in to the office right before Christmas to visit. Although the purpose of the day was for all of the employees’ children to visit with Santa and have lunch, Miss Deborah would take my son to Target every year when he came in and inevitably bring him back with some kind of action figure. I cannot tell you how much this meant to him and the fact that he still talks about it, some 10 years after the last time it happened, speaks volumes about how much he adored (and still adores) Miss Deborah.
She opened her home to anyone and, when she suffered the most unspeakable tragedy a parent can experience, somehow became even stronger than she had been. She began raising her very young grandchild along with her own children and did a magnificent job of protecting this young girl and keeping her mother’s memory alive.
When I left the company to spend more time with my parents and my great kid, I never looked back. I spent my last day there saying goodbye to people, promising to keep in touch (sometimes I’ve been successful; other times, I have not been). But when it came to say my last goodbye, my goodbye to Miss Deborah, I was heartbroken and inconsolable. I knew I would miss her wisdom, her stories, her love of soccer and tennis and any Trinidad team participating in the Olympics.
She was and is a person who lights up the world and who makes you want to be a better person. I aspire to be as strong and as resilient as she is and always has been. I have been blessed to be her friend and to have her call me friend. She is everything good and kind thing a person should be and I hope people tell her that every single day.