At the age of 60, I considered myself a proud man managing two families that all reciprocated their love in grand ways. One included my lovely wife, Sophie, and our two children, who are now pursuing their own goals.
The other family, I held close in my heart, was the public relations company I had joined as CEO 10 years ago and quickly transformed its culture into a family-knit group of 76 hardworking individuals.
Every day I strut into our Upper Hill offices, painted in red, the colour of love, I would be greeted by my enthusiastic team, some of whom were eager to share their day, the good as well as the struggle.
“Hey Peter, how are you doing?! I have a family emergency I would like to talk to you about. Or hey, my mom sends her greetings,” became a routine morning greeting I had grown accustomed to each morning.
From attending each other’s baby showers to consoling each other during funerals, we had created an environment that I was afraid of parting from.
Time was calling on me and I wanted to spend my life with my wife and kids, enjoying my sunset years.
After weeks of deliberations, we decided it was time to quit and take the vacation she had always advocated for.
"Babe, you can stay at home, do research work from here, and coordinate the farm work. We can also run an online Communication and PR firm remotely," Sophie told me.
I cherished the final month at my job and made as many memories as I could.
On the final day, the board organized a party. In attendance were all employees from our main branch and other branches in Mombasa and Kisumu would be invited.
All my family members were present save for Lucy, my youngest daughter who was travelling from an event in Kakamega.
I was quite worried but I tell you, these kids are tech savvy.
“Am so heartbroken to miss your event papa,” she said via a phone call.
“No worries Lus. It will be a good day,” I responded.
“Yes, I will see you in the after party and ooh by the way, I will also stream the event. I see your social media team is almost going live,” she weighed in.
“Won’t that eat much into your money,” I wondered.
“Haah! No worries, paps. Safaricom introduced Nyoosha Shillingi offer to provide its customers with new and revamped data bundles for the same price! With Ksh20 you now buy 100 MBs, double the usual 50MBs provided before.
“One thing about the new Safaricom Nyoosha Shillingi campaign is that data does not deplete faster anymore. Data, calls and SMS offers were extended by between 40% and 100%,” she responded.
I was quite intrigued by this new offer.
“Papa you can also get 300MB daily rather than 150MB with Ksh50. For the weekly Ksh99, you now get 500MB, a 43% increase from the usual 350MB. You can also get 2.5GB+Free Whatsapp for Ksh500 and 7GB+Free Whatsapp for Ksh1000 and more offers. The free WhatsApp only comes with a specified bundle.
“The new data plans are available on *544#, *555#, https://www.safaricom.co.ke/personal/data/data-tariffs, Blaze app and my Safaricom app. You can now purchase the new data bundles using airtime, Bonga Points and MPESA,” she added.
“Alright, you’ll show me all of that later. Your mum and I will share a lot of videos when we go on vacation.”
“Cool. I love you,” Lucy stated. “Go enjoy your day,” she added and hung up.
I was teary as the speeches began flowing.
“I joined this company in 2015, in the whole period, I have known you as my only boss and I cherished our interactions. You were at my wedding and you were always around to celebrate my milestones,” Matthew, the HR stated while fighting back tears.
For hours, the toasts and testimonies carried on one after another.
The hugs, the gifts, the prayers all got me overwhelmed.
I realized that whether it’s a simple goodbye to a friend before vacation or farewell to a coworker leaving for a new job—goodbye’s aren’t easy.
Sometimes finding the right words to send someone off are difficult.
All I had to say was that “It’s sad that moving on with the rest of your life, starts with goodbye. But let us not cry because it’s over. Let us smile because it happened.”
“That was an amazing speech,” Lucy texted when I sat, waiting for the incoming CEO to make his speech.
“You watched it all?” I asked.
“Yes I did. In fact, I still have more data to stay online today,” she added, along with a happy emoji.