The Phoenix

The Thoughts Warrior Life's Lessons

“And just as the phoenix rose from the ashes, she too will rise. Returning from the flames, clothed in nothing but her strength, more beautiful than ever before”.  Shannen Heartzs

It’s your birthday today.  I won’t lie, the past few days have probably been the hardest.  I can’t sleep, I can barely function.  A friend of ours told me Monday, that she was worried about me because she feels all the happiness is gone out of me.  Sometimes it feels that way.  But I know eventually, I will be better, and I will rise back from the ashes.  I won’t be the same as I was before, but I will be stronger, and more beautiful.  I know this because, over the years, we have taught each other that.  You rose so high, that you tattooed it on yourself as a reminder.

A year ago tonight, I stayed up very late typing a tribute for your birthday on Facebook.  I wanted to show you how incredibly proud and lucky I was to have you not just as a friend, but how proud I was of how far you had come with your rebirth.  Never did it cross my mind, that the next time I would pay tribute to you, it would be to say goodbye.  A year ago today, I never thought that if I wanted to hear your voice, or see your smile, I would have to do so with the many photos and short video clips I have.

As only old farts could understand, if these videos were on tape, they would already be worn out.

But I digress

I remember a birthday, that was not so happy.  A birthday, where I knew I had to let you go, for you to have the courage to find you again.

The day you stormed out of the office in tears, I knew I couldn’t follow you that day.  You were at a point where you had to take some time and think things through.  The bullying and the toxicity in the workplace had taken their toll on both of us.  I tried every way I could to protect you.  Everything in my power to stop them, but the harassment continued.  I tried my best and I know you knew that, we talked often about it.  But I was scared.  Besides the feelings of powerlessness, I felt at not being able to change things, what made me more fearful, was watching someone I loved and cared for, slowly slipping away.

I gave you some space, and let you know that I was there for you, anytime, any day or night.  Then on your birthday, I called and said, I needed to take you out for lunch.  We met at our favorite spot, Ballards.  As I drove in, I saw your face and you started to cry.  I jumped out of my car and gave you the biggest hug, we cried for what seemed like hours, in mere minutes.  Then I said the hardest thing I think I’ve ever said.  I knew why you were hanging on to the job, and I wished so much for you to stay, but that would be selfish of me.

“You need to take the retirement.  I know you don’t want to leave me alone in the office, but you have to do what you need to do.  I can’t watch you come into the office day after day and feel so miserable and unappreciated.  Especially when I can’t do anything to make you feel better.  I want my friend back.”

You looked at me, and I saw the tension ease in your face.  Your body relaxed as if a giant weight had been lifted.  “I have to let you go, to get you back”.  We hugged some more before Norm yelled for us to stop our blubbering in the parking lot.  We sat on the swing and ate our lunch and pigged out on ice cream.  And we laughed.  For the first time in a while, I heard your booming laugh again.  I knew what your decision was going to be.

These years since were a transformation for you.  Like the Phoenix, you rose.  Repaired bridges that were broken, did things you enjoyed, and broke out of your comfort zone.  Through the years prior and since we picked each other up and brushed ourselves off.  You were the happiest this past year than I had ever seen you.  That is why I know, that I can be happy again.  You taught me to rise from the flames.  That is a lesson I will always live by.  I will carry you with me always.  We used to joke that we would be friends until we are old and senile, then we would be new friends again.  You will never be old to me.  And I will always be your friend.






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