My first text was sent at 11 AM with no response; not even his usual “I’m in a meeting” response. I did not think anything of it. Then after a few more text messages and a few more no responses I knew in my heart of hearts something was wrong.
Working with someone daily for four years you learn things about them. Being their assistant you become their right hand. Any good assistant worth their weight in gold can tell you how his/her boss will respond to situations and knows his/her schedule like no one else in their organization. Finally at 1:47 PM when I had no response my heart sank. I knew something was wrong. Then I picked up my phone to call his girlfriend and she was calling me. When I called our home office and all our Sales Directors and no one heard from him, we both knew.
To say this man was my boss does not do him justice. He was one of three very special mentors I have had in my industry. He was my day-to-day. I began and ended my work day with him; sometimes even on the weekends. He was the only man allowed to interrupt a dinner with my husband or a family event with my husband’s permission (yes, I am that wife). He was like my older brother and knew most of my immediate family members.
So, when I got the call on November 27, 2017 that this man had passed I was crushed. It was almost like a part of me went with him. Four years! Four years of daily training, conversations, and lessons learned. Four years of travel across Texas and late night conversations during our drives. Four years of broken bread over breakfast, lunch and dinner. Four years of corny jokes and the funny, goofy, ridiculousness that was Rey.
I had never lost anyone of that importance in my life other than my grandparents. But this one was different-I didn’t “have to” care for him and love him; I chose to because of who he was to me. So to say that I was grieving was an understatement. The adrenaline of keeping our business together and managing the social aspect of his funeral between vendors, agents, and family members kept me going the first two weeks following his passing. But then the adrenaline wore off and I was lost.
Week 3, Day 1: I took a trip to DFW and cried the whole way there and the whole way back. This was our usual planning and catching up time. Now who will fill that void? Then Day 2-3 I stayed home and cried and sulked and binge watched Netflix. Then Day 4 a depression set in but I pretended everything was okay. Then Day 5 I picked up my journal. I was reminded of Sarah Koontz’s Worthy of the Calling study as I flipped through my journal. All my notes and re-reading the emails was such a comfort. But battling the depression was hard.
At the end of week 3 following his passing, I was in a full on depression and everyone had left me alone but it was time for our office Christmas party. I went and pretended everything was awesome. Fortunately, my family did not allow me to suffer alone. They understood but they stepped in and helped me through with laughter and love. The Christmas party was the first time I was completely dressed in weeks. But it helped to get out and road trips with my husband are always a good time.
Where I was at that point in time:
- I lived on my living room couch
- In all honesty, my hygiene was probably at 80% functional; I had bad days
- I checked email and did my job with minimal effort; just enough to get by
- I cried at any mention of his name
- I got angry with any one who wanted to know the burning question of “Who is replacing Rey?”
- I avoided phone calls from the insincere people and checked in on the people I knew truly cared for him
- I found my Hope Prevails book and bible study
- I barely talked to my husband and family and friends
- I disengaged from social media
- I binged on Hulu and Netflix almost 24 hours a day (full transparency these were not Christian shows)
- My only comfort was working on Rey’s projects and finishing his ideas to get them to home office and watching Hulu and Netflix
So, how did I get over all this? How did I deal with losing someone so close to me?
Easy answer: BUT GOD!
After being on meds a couple of days, I picked up my Bible and found comfort immediately. I asked for prayers from family and friends. I went to the doctor and got medical help. I read through my Worthy of the Calling study again. I read through my Hope Prevails book and study again. I followed Dr. Michelle’s RX for depression at the end of each section of her book and study. I also listened to her playlists she gives after each section (love this feature of her book) But most of all, I remembered who I am because of Whose I am.
But most of all, I remembered who I am because of Whose I am.
God and Rey as well, would not want me not living life. For a few short weeks I felt like the rug was pulled out from under me. I stopped living and became a Hulu/Netflix zombie. However, I know now in my business world life will go on following some of his vision and instilling the vision of my new boss. I have accepted that.
In my personal world I know that what this man taught me will never be forgotten. Every day, as I reflect through notes, journals and projects I still get Rey’s wisdom from the things I wrote down from meetings and phone calls. Every day I pass on some of his nuggets of wisdom down to our existing and new agents. Every day I wake up and live life to the fullest for God and in my business world I try to live up to Rey’s expectations of me and for me.
Some days are easy and some days are hard, but what I have figured out is that I now have an angel in heaven looking over me and God is the only one who can fill the void of Rey being gone. I also figured out that Netflix and Hulu have some pretty good shows.
Finally, how I grieved is different from how you will grieve during the loss of someone significant in your life. But what I do know is God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He will always fill any void in your life.
A Blessed Woman in TX