Most sad birthday wish call ever…
I was waiting for my flight. Thought it would be a great time to catch up with my daily birthday wishes. Tried calling as many people as I could. One of them was Neal. Unfortunately his number stated that it was not a working number any more.
Which was a shame I thought! Last year, I was away on vacation and I had wished him thru email. He had written back about his exciting work in Dell and the healthcare industry. The year before that was also an email exchange. Three years back, I had written to him from India. He had, I still remember, talked about his excitement in working in Dell and the healthcare industry.
I had no idea through all these years that he had been fighting cancer.
Not being able to get thru to him yesterday, I wrote a longer email to him from the plane. And I got a response an hour later. It was from his wife Donna. The email in front of me – that I stared for many minutes at – let me know that a few months after our last birthday email exchange, Neal finally succumbed to his cancer.
My head started spinning in the plane. There were too many flashbacks…. remembering those days over a decade and a half back when we worked together – Neal’s jovial nature, his energy level and above all his ability to keep a positive outlook in a rather acrimonious business culture we were in those days. I just could not believe he was no more.
Above all, I regretted that I wrote emails to him the last few years and did not talk to him to wish him. What a shame!
His wife ended her heartfelt email to me thusly – “My husband was a good man”
Unbeknownst to her, I was nodding my head sitting in the plane – “Yes, ma’m! Truer words have not been spoken”.
Neal Feldheim, as short as the road was that we traveled together, you made it immensely joyous for me.
May you be in peace…
“One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die”