Helping Nonprofit Leaders Transform Conflict

Leadership Coach and Mediator

My friend left. For Ohio. 1600 Miles away. She packed her stuff, took her cats and drove off. I waved her goodbye this morning. I had to see her go away, to viscerally know that she left, that her house is empty, and that I can’t drop by for lunch.

I love her. She was my first and best friend here in Austin. She offered support, she inspired me, we juggled. But most of all, she was she. I realize that what I most appreciate about her, is not what she contributed, but whom she contributed: herself.

She lived a completely authentic life. She was independently herself. She made no compromises. Her first and foremost commitment was to be authentically herself. She pursued a musical career, when no one approved, she went to college in her forties, with two kids at home, she learned to fly a plane in her sixties, and now moves at 81.

She was upfront about her feelings, thoughts, needs, desires. I didn’t always like what she said, and I always respected it. There is something powerful when someone speaks their truth. You can take it, you can leave it, but you can’t change it.

She is my absolute role model for ferociously pursuing your dreams.

Wow. What a gift.

I miss her. I cried the full 30 minutes driving home. When I arrived, I sat in my car for a long time, lost, sad. I unpacked the loaf of bread, the avocado, the humus. Remnants of our last lunch together. I don’t have an appetite for it. Without her it can’t be yummy. I hardly even want to hug my husband. There is a void without her, a painful void.

Yet, I honor and celebrate her choice to follow her dream. I love her so much that I am willing to support any choice she makes, how painful it is for me.

Joan, thank you for being my friend. Thank you for being you.

To live is to love and to lose.

I am so happy that I love you, that I am willing to lose you.

This is for you, my beloved friend: Bach’s “Air” by Ton Koopman

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