"The two of us met in the hospital; patients with similar diagnoses. Tom would complete treatments two weeks prior to me. As a result he would prepare me for what to expect and the lessons he learned to make things more bearable for myself.
[We stayed connected during our recovery] and found ourselves taking many walks together and when one or both of us was too tired we would sit [and talk in] front of the fire.
Tom later offered me a position with his [telecommunications company]. He [taught] me more about business, management, operations and ethics than any university. I have been in so much debt to him and my personal appreciation was given in a conversation where only a verbal thank you was provided.
During the session, as suggested, I drafted a letter of acknowledgment to my mentor:
Death comes to all of us faster than we all expect, as we both know. You and I have been through more than we would like.
I wanted to thank you for all that you have done for me. You sacrificed so much even in your time of need. You embraced and assisted me despite your own family and financial responsibilities.
I need you to know that all of my professional and personal successes can be attributed to your influence.
Memories of our walks and conversations by the fire about life and the meaning of being a man will always be treasured.
You were twice my age and my best friend.
Thank you for listening and providing comfort even in your own pain and anxiety. Thank you for hiring me and giving me the chance to find my own niche.
This has been so long in coming. I apologize for not sharing my utmost appreciation years ago.
Now, as I hold my wife, I recognize the things she loves in me were given to me by you. You have given so much of yourself without asking for anything in return. For these things, I wanted to thank you. For these reasons, I love you.
It took a while to find Tom. We had a phone conversation discussing our lives since the hospital. I sent my letter acknowledging his role in my life. Since that time I have felt a closeness to Tom once again. Sending this out has provided me a clear conscience and a renewed friendship.
While I continue in my role as a project manager, husband and father, I hope to acknowledge those in my life in a timely manner. If you're wondering whether or not to acknowledge someone, take it from me, do it. Do it now, today."
Thank you Mr. Pond for being a demonstration of the living, breathing power of acknowledgment. You moved everyone in our session deeply with your story--leaving many of us in tears. You cannot begin to know how far the ripples of your story will be felt and acted upon.