I had to go say goodbye to another client yesterday. I really do hate saying goodbye. If I am being entirely honest, I will try to avoid it if I can, but Gordon was with our organization for 16 years. He deserved a proper goodbye.
He came with a world of stories but no real history. When it came time to do his eulogy, we searched and searched for facts about his life prior to Compass. We found very little, unfortunately, so we had to just accept his stories of the circus, loving parents that passed on and his wife in Mexico as fact.
I love that about Compass. We live our value of Freedom: loving people where we find them and encouraging them to grow. Gordon got to come to Compass and not only determine his future, but he got to shape his past. He could share his own version of what his life was like before Compass. He told us exotic stories of a life full of relationships and adventure.
“We laughed and we cried as we discussed a man bound to a wheelchair in his body, but fierce and free in his mind.”
When we came together for his celebration, it was kinda magical. Clients, regional center folks, former and current staff all shared their stories. We laughed and we cried as we discussed a man bound to a wheelchair in his body, but fierce and free in his mind. I think my favorite quote of the day was from a precious angel, Dorothy, who has retired from Compass. She said, “he charmed me into believing I was his favorite person in the world.” Ironically, I had always believed I was his favorite. I guess we will never know…
We talked about how he seemed to know the end was coming, speaking more regularly about how much he loved us and knew we were his family. We had the privilege to sit together–various people of diverse shapes, nationalities, abilities and colors– and call ourselves Gordon’s family. He gave us that gift. Gordon was a powerful man who chose his past, his future and his family. I am grateful he chose us.
Your family will miss you, Gordon.