Thursday, May 20, 2010

The End Of An Era

My very favourite & most long-standing client J. is retiring from practice today. He doesn't want a fuss, so we are gathering for a lunch to ostensibly celebrate his birthday. When I first started this role 20 years ago, his reputation preceded him. I was told by everyone that if I didn't know my 'stuff' he would eat me up & spit me out. So I made an appointment to see him & then spent the next week with my nose firmly stuck in every clinical paper & journal article he'd ever written, desperately trying to memorize their content. On the morning of the dreaded visit, I was physically shaking & still remember the feeling like it was yesterday.... I was really, really scared!

And just as expected he grilled me on highly technical data & complex clinical applications. At the end of an hour he stood up, extended his hand across the desk, looked at me with his twinkling blue, blue eyes & said 'Well Millie, I think you & I will get along just fine.' And from that moment we have. He is a brilliant Clinician & Academic & we have travelled together to many overseas Conferences, enjoying each other's company immensely. We have had our 'moments' over the years, but the admiration & respect I have for this lovely, lovely man will go on forever. A quiet achiever who eschews the limelight, today he just wants to do his final list, care for his last patient & quietly walk away. As much as we will try not to, I think those of us at lunch today will struggle to keep our emotions in check, I hope he will understand if I need to fossick around in my handbag for a Kleenex or 5. I will miss him so much, but wish him & his dear wife M. many happy days ahead, relaxing & enjoying what life has to offer them after a lifetime of care & service to others.

Image: Natrea


  1. He sounds wonderful Millie, so as sad as it is to say goodbye, you'll know that he's ready to take some time for him, which I suspect is very well deserved. Make sure those tissues are packed and ready! K xx

  2. what a lovely tribute millie. and with that spirit you have enhanced his life too.

    ps; saw your headline and said to myself "NO.....not millie!" thought you too were ending your blog...whew!

  3. Isn't it wonderful that there are people like this in our world - humble, caring individuals? The ones who are content to stay in the background and do their best for all of us. What a treasure it is for you to have been able to know him; it will be worth every tear you shed!

    And aren't I the lucky one, too - I married one of these exceptional people...

  4. He sounds like a great individuals/co-worker. I really wish we had more individuals like him within the workplace, etc.

    Best of luck to he and his fam!

  5. A lovely post Millie. How fortunate you and he were to work together.

  6. Hi Millie,

    I enjoyed reading the beautiful tribute to your work colleague.
    You obviously made a great team.
    Wishing him all the very best in the future.


  7. I love hearing about special people like this. Lucky you for having worked with him. Did you ever tell him how terrified you were at that first meeting?
    Clare x

  8. Beautifully written Mills. It is so sad to say goodbye, as sometimes things just don't seem the same without them...
    I hope you had enough tissues mate, and just to let you know, I had to go and get one after reading your post, as I got a little teary for you. (obviously NOT a sensitive time of the month for me at all!!)
    Chin up,
    Flick :)

  9. Oh my...You do have a lot of goodbyes in your life lately - your neighbors and now a valued collegue / friend.

    He sounds like a gem, a true old-fashioned guy to just ride of quietly into the sunset. Sigh!

    Best of luck to him.


  10. That amidst all the things that trouble this world, there are precious human beings like your client J out there is what lifts us up and brightens our days. May he enjoy a long and happy retirement!


And none will hear the postman's knock
Without a quickening of the heart.
For who can bear to feel himself forgotten?
~W.H. Auden

Related Posts with Thumbnails