I had just moved to the little town of Clover, South Carolina and didn't know a soul. I was single at the time and working crazy around-the-clock hours and I didn't get out much to meet new people. Our company was understaffed and not financially in a position to hire an assistant that could take all of our business shipments to the Post Office. So, the daily delivery run fell on me and became my only social outing and something I really looked forward to.
Joyce worked behind the postal counter accepting packages, ringing up the total with a smile and calling customers by their first name. She took her own sweet time and always had a tidbit of gossipy news or a story to tell. She entertained herself, her coworkers and the patrons who frequented her counter.
Due to the occasional crowds or limited time in my schedule, I would get in another line, but if I had the time to spare, I would wait in line for Joyce.
Early one foggy morning I dropped by the Post Office to mail my stuff, and as I approached the front, there was a group of fifteen or so people gathered around in hushed silence and retrospect. Finally one lamented, "Golly Joyce, I'm sure gonna miss you."
"I missed the first part of the conversation, where are you going Joyce?" I hate that moment when you realize you've taken a friendship for granted. The relationship is over or about to end, and you didn't realize what it meant to you until now. You wish you could go back in time and re-live it all over again, only this time with meaning and awareness.
You remember in an instant the good times, the laughter, the smiles, words of encouragement and the impact a particular person has had on you...and you know because of them you'll never be the same again. It's a sensational and terribly empty feeling wrapped in one.
"I am retiring. Been here twenty three years and today's my last day." Joyce answered.
Silence erased the chitchat of the new crowd coming in the front door. It was like a death sentence. You could have heard a stamp drop.
She proceeded to tell how she had a fondness for the mountains and now that she would have days and weeks of free time, she was going to pursue her love for hiking.
She continued ringing up the regulars while sharing stories of her adventures on the Appalachian Trails. Even after we'd been helped, we lingered awhile, listening to her stories, and not wanting to say good-bye.
Wouldn't it be nice if we could treat all of our interactions with our friends, family and business associates with the same respect that "good-bye" moment provides - with meaning and awareness?
What a difference that one woman made in the lives of so many...and what an impact she made in mine.
I'm going to miss you Joyce.
Information from: Words of Wellness
Title and text buttons by Heather