Our cleaning lady has vacuumed my office for the last time.  After a life of hard work, her retirement starts today.  She always has a smile and a kind word for all.

“Laaaasst daaay!” I sing as she enters my cubicle.  Her smile says it all.  “Are you excited?”

Her eyes are shining.  “Oh, yes!” she quickly replies, “but I’m going to miss everyone.  They are like my family.”

My mind jumps back to a chance encounter I had a few months ago.  A group of people was gathered outside the conference room for a meeting.  One of the men, upon seeing her, burst into a smile.  “Mona – how are you?  It’s so nice to see you!”  They carried on a short conversation that made the warmth between them obvious.

She has worked in this building for the past six years and has crossed paths with many.  Folks move on to other jobs or change buildings but still remember her fondly.

This woman leaves her mark on others.  Mona’s kindness, work ethic and pride in what she does endears her to the people who see her every day.

Her husband died this time last year.  Knowing how hard she worked, and having lost their father, her children encouraged her to retire.  I suspect that they wanted her to slow down and enjoy what life has to offer after years of hard physical work.

Later this afternoon we will gather in the conference room.  The organization I work for has staff on three floors of the building.  Retirement cards were passed around each floor this week, giving us the chance to write a little note for Mona, wishing her well.  I know many folks on the floor I work on are contributing financially as well.

This sweet lady will be missed by many.  Her replacement has big shoes to fill.