Last week, my wonderful, wonderful manager and colleague retired. She was an extremely talented psychologist and everyone she worked with loved her and respected her in equal measure. We had known that she was planning on retiring for the past year and the best way I could allow myself to say goodbye was to throw her an extra special party.
We decided to host an afternoon tea party on her behalf and invite her family, her friends, her work colleagues from the past and present. Apparently she had looked into hiring a company that provided an afternoon tea party, but it was hundreds of pounds! So she had bought some pretty paper plates and napkins and thought that would be it.
However, we had other plans. I asked my Mother in law to dig out her amazing china tea sets, which are over a hundred years old. She also had some amazing Queen Anne teacups and saucers from the 1950s.
We then found about 7 cake stands, from vintage cut glass ones to modern cardboard ones, I dug out my best Cath Kidston teapot and milk jug and we had 4 beautiful flower arrangements with roses and lavender in tiny teapots.
My friend managed to acquire about 10 sets of pink and green bunting from her friend's wedding, so we covered the whole clinic in it! She also made some beautiful cupcakes for the occasion. Good job as my cake making skills extend to fairy cakes and chocolate rice crispie cakes...
About 60 people turned up, which was testament to how much people admired her and wanted to say goodbye. It was perfect. There were loads of speeches, lots of laughter and I just about managed not to cry.
On the Thursday, I popped my head around the door to say goodbye as I was going away for the weekend. (I'll tell you more about that in my next blog post). We both hugged each other, burst into floods of tears and I cried all the way home in my car. It is so hard to lose someone you appreciate so much.
I made her a picture using some vintage maps, showing the locations of places we had worked together. On the back I wrote a lovely quote from Dr Seuss, which says
"Dont cry because it's over. Smile because it happened".
Unfortunately I didnt heed my own advice, and burst into tears at work yesterday morning when I read my thankyou card from her...slightly embarrassing in an open plan office, especially as I have never cried at work before. Luckily one of my colleagues noticed and took me downstairs for a hug and a big mug of tea!
Anyway, if you have someone you work with who inspires you, makes you want to be a better person and is generally awesome, make sure you appreciate every day you get to spend together x