Two weeks ago today my son came home with a sore throat and some redness on his face and body. After worsening at home, we spent five days with him in the hospital. He was discharged one week ago today, and I wrote a short post explaining what happened.
What that post doesn’t say is that the executive for On The Rise looked after everything without much help from me for that week. My wife and I were living at the hospital in Sault Ste. Marie (we leave 30 minutes away in the country) and I had only my phone and iPad to use to stay connected. Editing massive spreadsheets is challenging on a mobile device, and I was running on very little sleep and even less emotional peace. Lorenzo DiCerbo in particular came to the rescue as surrogate chair, ensuring that all of the tiny-yet-critically-important details were looked after.
It was only this past Saturday that I was certain I’d be able to attend On The Rise. My son had recovered quite a bit, and my wife and I agreed that I should be here if I could. I realize in retrospect that OTRK12 would have done just fine without me, which is actually a really great feeling, but I’m happy to have been here in person.
OTRK12 was a wonderful time to connect with old friends, new friends, and friends who up until now had been only “virtual” friends through Twitter, etc. Everyone who was aware of what had happened to my son, including people I had never met, asked me how he was doing, and also how I was doing, which was a little overwhelming. I shook the hand of and gave a one-armed hug to one of my favourite people and asked, “How’s it going?” and he replied, “Forget me. How are you? How is your son?” (Thanks, Chris).
The concern that my colleagues show for my well-being and my son’s health was touching. The relationships we create online, at a distance, are very real and very meaningful. And face-to-face events like ECOO’s Bring IT Together, OTRK12, and so on are a valuable consolidation of those relationships that I think is worth every minute of travel and every nickel of cost.
I see most of these people once or twice a year, sometimes less, but they are my closest friends in many ways. They are good people, and I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity to be together in person.