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Thursday, November 10, 2005

Farewell, my Ring Leader

Think back over your career or personal life. Is there someone in your life that gave you a bit of advice, a nudge in the right direction or the encouragement to be who you became? Even if it was 10 or 20 years ago ... have you thanked them?

Sixteen years ago, I worked for the government. At home, I was in a miserable, abusive relationship. I was a 22 year old "wunder kind" at work but otherwise, a misdirected, mixed up and lost little girl. I met Gigi then, we became instant friends, and she became my big sister, dear friend, confidante and "Ring Leader". Under her wing, I eventually got out of the evil relationship (a moment she marked by giving me one of her favorite amethyst and diamond rings, which I'm wearing right now). She introduced me to computer graphics and egged me on (we thought we were pretty cool because we knew how to work the pen plotter. LOL). She taught me that everyone ought to "run off and join the circus at least once in their life." When I left government, she was the ONE person who didn't say "Oh, god, how will you survive without benefits and a pay check?" She taught me everything I know about relational database design and we plotted ways to use our brains to take over the world and survive being a state worker.

And, oh, the laughs we had!

Gigi had a little boy and was a single mom. Her world revolved around her son, but her love he generously shared with me. She was a snazzy lady - an abundant woman who reveled in clothes, finger nails and her jewels! So much of who I am, I am because of her influence and I respected and loved her back with all my heart.

Yes, this is "past tense;" you're reading me right. I often thought that no matter what, Gigi's heart and spirit was the largest part of her and last Saturday, at the young, young age of 58, that enormous heart collapsed and her spirit was set free. Stunned, I am comforted by the knowledge that she knew how I felt. And now she's got a bird's eye view of what mischief her protege is into now :)

In the course of notifying people who shared my respect for Gigi, I also had a chance to speak with people who shaped my early life. The man who got me all the cool hardware and software that I cut my teeth on long ago. Another, I'll never forget, the man who said "you gotta see this!" and showed me the World Wide Web, back in 1995. Today, I had a chance to speak to the man that Gigi introduced me to, who gave me the incentive to change my life.

Gigi, thank you for introducing me to all three. What fun to be able to now say "THANKS. See what you started??"

With all this introversion, plenty of work on my plate, and the memorial this week, I've been a little scarce on this blog but I hope you understand why. As I muse about Gigi, and wish her spirit a peaceful respite from the world, I can't help but wish I had one last chance to hear her voice. Don't miss your chance... we all have these pivotal people in our pasts, don't we?