What Message Will You Leave Behind?
By: Karen Elliott. This was posted Wednesday, November 24th, 2010
On Monday evening, Phil Baxa, my good friend and colleague, stood in my office, chatting about “work stuff,” catching up after several days of not stopping to speak, even though our offices are next door to each other. Having both recently moved our practices to Sands Anderson, we had a lot in common. We talked about how “life is too short” to let negative situations rent space in our heads, and how happy we were to be working in our new (his) and relatively new (my) home.
Little did we know that less than 12 hours later, Phil would take his last breath.
As I lay awake not able to sleep over the shock of his passing, I wondered what Phil would have done if he had known that he had just a few short hours to live. Not stand there talking in my office, for sure.
On second thought, he would have taken time out to at least stop in for a second on his way out to see how I was doing after recent foot surgery. Then he would have told me I looked pretty good even with a limp, and with a wave of his hand and a smile, he would have left. That was Phil. He truly cared about those around him.
For sure he would have headed home to his wife, and held her close, called his children, given last words of advice. He would have thanked them, and he would have told them all how much he loved them. With only 10 hours remaining, there would not have been a whole lot to do but just say goodbye. But Phil didn’t know that he had so few short hours left.
Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day. I know that those of us at Sands Anderson will all give thanks for the privilege of having known and worked with Phil. While we can’t live out our lives constantly in fear of possibly having only a few hours left, Phil’s premature passing serves as a stark reminder. What we say to others and what we do as we pass through our workaday lives is important. Memories of how we treated others in the workplace will stay behind forever. Our memories of Phil are good ones.