I was 19 years old. I was taking classes at the community college, working a retail job, in the perfect relationship with my soon to be husband, in a difficult relationship with my parents, and dirt broke.
I was very unhappy and didn't know what to do so I changed everything.
I quit my job. I finished up my classes and did not re-enroll. I moved out of my parents house.
I took at job through a temp agency and ended up doing data entry for a very small company. After working there for 3 months their hired me on full time and I was given a job working for a man named Todd.
He was wise beyond his years. I know now he was about 32 when we met, one year older than I am now, but to me he seemed like he had been around much longer than that.
I had moved from my parents house to my sister in laws house to a rental house all within 15 months. Then I got married and moved again. I also patched things up with my dad.
The right things were happening but they were happening very quickly. And I was very young.
I felt like I was getting my personal life under control but I really needed help with understanding where I wanted to be professionally. With the guidance of Todd, and the work ethic my dad gave me, I organized the data entry work to be a 3 hour a day job instead of a massive pile of work that was never done at the end of the day. I spent the other 5 hours of my day looking for work to do which lead to me learning some very basic coding and spun my next job. When that job eventually went away he trusted me to build two very complex new products and be a product expert which started me on the path to the job I have today.
After the wedding and after we were settled in our apartment I decided it was time for me to return to school. Todd was nothing if not supportive in this decision and not only helped me decide what to study but he allowed me to make my hours flexible so I could take class during the day. I was able to get my AS Parallel degree in about 15 months.
When I was lost, anytime I needed advise, anytime I needed someone to believe in me, Todd was there to listen and give me guidance. He was a very important person at a time I was very much lost.
In 2003, when this small company I was working for was acquired by a very large company, Todd decided it was time to move on. We kept in touch with the occasional email. I shared milestones such as the birth of my daughter and my promotions with him. When I returned from maternity leave and realized I no longer had the passion for the job I returned to (and someone else was doing it very well) I sought his counsel on where to go, unsure if I should leave my company or seek another position within.
Friday night, Todd was killed in a tragic motorcycle accident when he struck a deer on the highway. Many, many lives were greatly altered in that moment. His wife. His three children. His family. His friends. All the people he mentored, just like me.
Todd was a caring, funny, inspirational man.
I will remember him because he was pivotal in my early 20's. But I will also remember him because he walked around the office with no shoes on, one of my favorite past times!
I remember the time we had a happy hour and he had to many beers so he slept in his truck in the parking ramp that night.
I remember him hiding a fart machine by the printer and pushing the button anytime some walked by.
I remember him draining the all the cold water from the water cooler to fill his 128 oz water mug with the big KQ92 on the side.
I remember the time someone sent him and email that listed the 20 things you should not do if you want your coworkers to think you are sane. He set out to do them all which included running laps around the office returning to his office, slamming the door, and returning to work.
I have so many more memories that I will carry with me always.
I will take comfort in knowing that you lived live every day. That you raised three beautiful children who will continue your legacy. That you died doing what you love.
Todd, thank you for everything you have done for me. Thank you for the memories. I will always be eternally grateful to have had you in my life.