A person is more than the sum of their parts. For me, the impact on my character has often come from small moments, passing comments and witnessing traits I aspire-to in others.
This is why I write this post about Suzy Ferguson, my colleague at LEWIS PR, who tragically died this week aged just 31.
My first memory of Suzy was a telephone interview late last year. An event that often fills interviewees with trepidation. Yet Suzy’s enthusiasm, positivity and fun just bubbled through the phone line – it felt more like a chat with an old mate than a formal interview. Genuinely, Suzy made me know in an instant that I’d love to work with this person. I then got the job and just before I joined, I got to watch the LEWIS band play with Suzy singing, her energy filling the room.
The following week I joined LEWIS and had the luck to work with Suzy. I am not just saying this, but I really was in awe of her. The impact she had on the people around the office, the smiles, laughter and positivity – I remember wishing I knew what her secret was. A true light in the room and clearly hugely respected by everyone from the most senior to newcomers like myself.
And then, during a brief conversation several weeks into my role, she mentioned (purely in passing) that she had cancer. I was taken aback. I couldn’t believe someone so upbeat could be dealing with something so huge; but I came to understand – that was Suzy. I sadly didn’t get chance to spend much more time with Suzy in the past few months whilst she battled with the disease. However, it didn’t even occur to me that she wouldn’t be back.
Yet, this was not to be. I feel like I have lost a friend that I never got the chance to know. However, I also feel incredibly lucky to have known her at all, even for just a fleeting moment. She has already shaped my life. On a practical level, Suzy has already had a huge impact on my career and introduced me to some wonderful new colleagues (and dare I say, friends) – which would not have happened without Suzy and I am immensely grateful for. More importantly though, her strength and smile taught me that whatever the situation, or how daunting the odds are, that the greatest gift to others is to be true to yourself. This will stick with me forever.
There is a quote by Oscar Wilde which I have always liked “Be yourself, everyone else is taken”. For me, Suzy embodied this. I hope I can learn to have even a fraction of the impact on others, that Suzy did on me.
RIP Suzy Ferguson.
A tribute, from those who knew Suzy far better than I did, can be found here: http://blog.lewispr.com/2012/07/suzy-ferguson.html