John Cotter was a guy that worked in my office. We passed each other in the hall many times...I never spoke a word to him or him to me. We were virtual strangers...all though the odd smile did pass between us now and then. We worked on the same project but for different purposes...and so had nothing to do with each other...thus there was no real need to communicate...beyond the odd smile.
He went on vacation recently and drowned 2 days before he should have come back. Now there is a picture of John Cotter on the bulletin board of our office showing a young smiling man oozing with health and vitality. Hard to believe he is no longer among us....and it makes you take a moment and think about life...and how fleeting it is.
I never spoke to John Cotter....I never knew his last name was Cotter. I felt that because we didnt have work directly related to the other there was no need to "get to know" each other. Not to mention...Im not that good with striking up conversations for no reason with "strangers". Im sad now because I didnt take that step and get to know him at least a little. He was a living breathing human being sharing the same building with me...sharing the same hall way with me...sharing the same ultimate goal with me...get this project completed....so we had lots in common and yet we were strangers.
I feel sad for the loss of John Cotter...but I feel like I dont really have the right to be sad. I didnt know him...he didnt know me...why am I sad? I was thinking about it last night and it came to me that we let an awful lot of opportunities pass us by just because it seems like too much trouble or "work" to take that step...take a chance...take a moment and decide that trying something new or different for you might be kind of interesting for a change. I should have said hello to him now and then...this would have opened the door for more conversation no doubt...conversation which leads to getting to know someone so that he's more than just another employee doing the daily grind with you. I want to be sad for John Cotter and remember the times when he did this...or said that...but I dont have any memories like that...so Im sad...for what?
I guess what it boils down to is that one day I will have my final moment on earth...one day I might be just a photo on the bulletin board for all to give a moments look at then move on with the day to day act of living...after all...life does go on for the rest of us. I want to be more then just a photo on the wall for others to wonder about me...what was I like...did they ever talk to me or if they didnt...did they wish they had? I want my time spent here...the office...and more importantly here...on earth...to mean something to those that I come into contact with. I realize that not everyone whose path you cross during your life will mean something to you...or to them...but when we see the same people everyday...pass the hall with them everyday...spend a good amount of our life(working from 7:30 to 4:30 5 or 6 days a week) with them...even indirectly...what a shame it is when we dont take the time to get to know those we see and spend so much of our lives with. How could me knowing John Cotter better have affected my life....I dont know...I wish I had taken the opportunity to find out.
John Cotter is gone now...I send his family my sincere condolences and pray they make it through this obviously devasting time...and I wish I had gotten to know their son....brother...husband( I dont even know if he was a brother or husband) a little better. If his death has taught me one thing its this... we should take the chance to get to know someone before its too late...who knows what friendships/relationships we are missing out on.
Well....I guess "not knowing" John Cotter affected my life more than I thought.