Thoughtful respite. The power of attitude.

Recognizing the Significance of Leaving

Leaving is hard. Moving from something you know to something new and uncertain can be painful. I think some formality or something ceremonial is important – both to recognize the good you’re departing from and to smooth the transition to the other side. I was privileged to be with my mom at her death. When the funeral director arrived, we accompanied my mother down the hall. The staff rose as we processed by. Their silent stance acknowledged the dignity and importance to my mom’s passing and will comfort me the rest of my life.

Moving on from work completed, a career ending and especially after being downsized or fired is of course painful. We put our soul into the work we do. It’s important to recognize that and speak or write about accomplishments as well as lessons learned. Parties, receptions, dinners, etc. can meet some of these needs but often skirt the true meaning. It may be important to engage in some reflection, writing and talking with a mentor, good friend or loved one about the work experience on a deeper level. This can be both healing and productive during transition to new work.

Communication to family and friends, August 10, 2015

Hello Family and Friends:
I want to tell you that today, August 10, 2015, Helen Ann Jordahl Bachhuber finished her long and at the end, difficult life journey. She died at 1:47 PM at Agrace Hospice Care in Fitchburg, WI. She went quietly, peacefully, with grace and dignity, as she lived her life of 94 years.

I arrived about 1:00 today and she was in labored breathing; the nurse said we might be close. I laid my head by hers, stroked her hair; caressed her face. “So you’re finally going to go, Mom.” I told her how beautiful she was; how loved she is and how brave she’s been. It wasn’t 10 minutes and her breathing stopped. My sister in law Mary came, listened for a heartbeat and couldn’t find one. One nurse came and then another; she was pronounced dead at 1:47 PM. Brother Jim arrived and the three of us spent maybe 20 hard, good minutes with her.

Chaplain Gloria said a moving prayer, emphasizing the wonder Mom’s eyes had seen and ears had heard; and how her hands had comforted and heart loved for over 94 years. She read the 139th Psalm*. Her body was taken through the building hallways with her prayer shawl and Sr. Joyce Rupp’s prayer bowl on her stomach. Loving staff stood in prayer and silence to say good-by at various places. Jim and I kissed her before she was taken away.
I guess that’s all I know.


Reflect, write speak about some of the following:

Where was the joy in the work you’re leaving, and what will you miss the most?
How can your family, closest friends, and colleagues best help you recognize the importance of this transition? What kind of meeting or process would be most helpful?

How can you learn from the difficulties and challenges of previous work as you move to better places?

What preparation will you need to do in order to be able to write and speak about this work to prospective employers and networking contacts?

*Psalm 139
1 You have searched me, Lord,
and you know me.
2 You know when I sit and when I rise;
you perceive my thoughts from afar.
3 You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.
4 Before a word is on my tongue
you, Lord, know it completely.
5 You hem me in behind and before,
and you lay your hand upon me.
6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.
7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
11 If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
12 even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.
13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.
17 How precious to me are your thoughts,[a] God!
How vast is the sum of them!
18 Were I to count them,
they would outnumber the grains of sand—
when I awake, I am still with you….

*TranSpirations III is a series of writings connecting Tom’s journal entries leading up to his Mom’s death on August 10, 2015, to some of the challenges people face in work related transitions.

Thomas Bachhuber, Ed.D., President of the Board and Executive DirectorThomas Bachhuber, Ed.D.
President of the Board and Executive Director for The Center for Life Transitions. Tom is responsible for overall Center leadership and strategy. His individual coaching/counseling as well as workshops and retreats focus on integrating leading career development ideas with spiritual exploration. Read more.