What a week. My heart is full and empty, all at the same time.
My last work event, the Rauch Golf Scramble, took place Monday. By all reports, everyone had a fantastic time, and we raised $19,750 in net proceeds - our best golf event ever and a 31.5% increase over last year.
Wednesday, it became apparent that my 16.5 year old dog, Beano, was rapidly declining. On Thursday morning, I held her one last time and let her go. I was 24 years old when I became her mom, and I'm 40 now. To say we were both a bit grayer that day would be an understatement. It's hard to fathom her absence, because she seemed far too stubborn to do anything but live forever. She was also far too stubborn to be so old, and I could tell her failing body was a great annoyance to her. She is free now.
Thursday at lunch was my goodbye party at Rauch. I got a lot of lovely hugs and some incredibly thoughtful cards and gifts, as well as many sweet e-mails and visits throughout the day. These gestures continued on Friday, my official last day.
One of the most difficult things about leaving Rauch was parting with the people we serve, individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. They have made each day at work better and meaningful for me, and I have enjoyed learning their unique personalities and traits along the way. The unfortunate fact in our industry is that there is a lot of employee turnover, and a side effect of that is that these people are all too familiar with the word "goodbye." I had taken great pride in not just my work to improve their lives, but also in being a consistent and positive presence for them, as best I could in my role. When I gathered with them on Friday, I was showered with quite possibly the most hugs and tears and "I love you's" than I have ever experienced in my life.
After finishing up some last grant reports and lugging a box to my car, I drove home so say another goodbye. I had sold the 1966 Plymouth Barracuda that has slept in my garage for 15 years, and the buyer was coming transport it to its new home, where he will wake it from its slumber. I felt like the whole neighborhood was watching as this little treasure emerged from its resting place and was carted away into the sunset.
Happy trails, Barracuda... and me, too, I hope. :)