“It’s time,” she said with finality, with acceptance, as if she had come to terms with pulling the life support plug and putting her career to rest.
“Today is your last day?” asked her co-worker, who already knew the answer.
“Yes, it’s today.”
She seemed relieved, ready to be done with it, disappointed things hadn’t been different, that they were still so much the same as when she started.
“There were problems when I started and there are problems now.”
But she didn’t want to dismiss her life’s work.
“Now you carry it on.” She endowed her colleague with the responsibility. If he left behind what she gave him, her legacy would be diminished.
I stopped by her office as I left that day.
“Congratulations!” What else was there to say? “Congratulations,” because reaching the endpoint was alone a testament to grit.
She had been successful – successful in hanging on, hanging in. Her endurance had carried her through. Her experience not unique amongst those who dismiss fulfillment in work with, “Work is called work for a reason.”
“Do you have plans for your retirement?” I inquired politely, smiling appropriately. Hoping it was a short answer.
It was the end of the day on a Friday. I had done what I could do. What I would do. And it was time.