I recently got some bad news regarding a former colleague of mine. I'd recently reconnected with them, and with many mutual colleagues after many years spent apart. We don't always mean to lose touch with folks, sometimes it just happens. People grow apart. Object permanence is a funny thing like that. If something (or someone) isn't physically sharing space with you on some kind of regular basis, you begin to forget it (or they) exist. This is doubly true if, like me, you have ADHD. We ADHD'ers absolutely suck at object permanence.
I was only with the company my late colleague and I worked at for a couple of years. Practically the blink of an eye, all things considered. But long enough to have formed relationships with the folks there.
After I left, I'd see folks every now and then on social media, and at conferences, because the Toronto tech community is such that everyone kinda knows everyone. But I regret not having kept in touch over the years. By the looks of things, I missed out on a lot.
When I heard from this coworker out of the blue during the pandemic, he invited me into an alumni Slack for the company we worked at. It's been awesome getting to know everyone again and catching up. Recently I attended a couple of concerts with some of my former colleagues, and I realized how much I've missed them all dearly.
But now, here I sit, knowing I will never get to reconnect with this particular colleague. He was so good to everyone he met, and I will never be able to thank him enough for helping my wife feel welcome when she decided to tag along with me to a hacker conference that a bunch of us went to in 2015. She was very anxious, and didn't know if she'd have anyone there to talk to or anything. But he made her feel at home, and sat with us the entire ten hour bus ride from Toronto to Quebec City, and offered to show us around town when we got there, as he was familiar with the area. A small gesture, but it always stuck with me regardless.
Rest in Peace Josh, you were one-of-a-kind. I'm sorry we never got a chance to reconnect in person, but your passing has reminded me that tomorrow is not promised. I am resolving from this day forth to be better at keeping in touch, despite the challenges my ADHD presents.
To those reading this, if you have people in your life you haven't kept in touch with, and you find yourself one day thinking of them, don't hesitate. Reach out. You may not get a second chance.