I joked to one of my best friends/colleagues that the relationships I have with those at work are the longest relationships I've been in! And also the most fulfilling. And may also explain why I don't feel lonely or empty as a single person.
A friend that has been temping as a secretary (she is divorced and child-free) mentioned that she thought one of the reasons she was enjoying the assistant role so much is because it allows her to take care of someone.
While any need or desire I may have to nurture is totally fulfilled as a single parent, my work life allows me the opportunities to fulfill other interpersonal aspects. I get to carry on adult conversations, I am intellectually challenged, and I am also in long-term relationships with each of my colleagues, clients, and even opposing parties.
Our friendships, our relationships with our colleagues, are often underestimated. But these are the people with whom we spend the majority of our hours, the majority of each week, and throughout the majority of my work life, I create close bonds with those I encounter through my job.
This past weekend was the anniversary of the death of one of those colleagues, who was so much more than a colleague. She changed my life, my daughters' lives, and a dear, dear friend.
I thought I'd be more melancholy about starting another year without her with us. But through this year, I have realized that I learned so much from her, and that her lessons are ingrained in me.
Every so often, I ask myself, what would Bonnie say? And I think I know the answers, and that reminds me how lucky I was to have her in my life!
In the last few weeks of her life, I attempted to help raise money for her care. We planned a lunch to go see her and give her the donations. I wrote a letter to Bonnie and her husband to thank them for all that they've done for us. When the day came, however, she was unconscious and never was alert enough to read it. I tried to tell her, and I know she knew I was there. But I still wish I'd thought to give her the letter sooner.
When my 10-year work anniversary came around, I wrote thank you emails to those colleagues who also are so much more to me than that word implies. The really good friends had to tease me about being so sappy, but I do feel better knowing that I've said it.
Even though I knew she was dying, I thought I had more time. Sometimes, we don't even get that chance.
The holidays are coming. Thanksgiving is most likely spent with family, but there may be an occasion at work to celebrate with your colleagues. If you're lucky enough to have a true friend (or more) at work, it's a really great time to let them know.