Saying farewell to a Mentor

Lucienne Renaud

There should be a law that you should never need to say farewell to a Mentor. After all a Mentor is someone that has enormous influence on our lives.

Jeff Imelt, from GE quotes mentors as “People you trust to provide feedback and advice”.
Mentors opens doors, are generous of spirit and time and best of all, a mentor’s time is free.

I had to bid farewell to my very first mentor this week; she was 84 years old. It was not easy to say goodbye to Lucienne, or we would simply refer to her as ‘Mom ‘.

Her Stroke complications worsened when she refused to take her medication. As well in the last few days she refused to eat and drink indicating to us that she wanted to finally rest and rid herself of the symptoms that this disease had afflicted her for almost 6 years.
Now for those of us that are fortunate to have known one’s mother, we all learn a few lessons from them.

As I attempt to deal with this loss, I have to admit that I am not doing very well. Part of me wants to go back to ‘business as usual ‘ part of me a.k.a. that little voice in my head, tells me:
‘ Paul deal with this now.’

What better way to deal with this than to reminisce and recall an anecdote of a wonderful lady with so much influence on me that I attribute to her today, the fact that I believe in people so much.

It was not uncommon for my mother to stop a complete stranger on the streets of our small home town in Aylmer, Quebec, to say hello, smile and wish that person her very best. As a child I was at times embarrassed since I had insisted upon her that we did not know this person. Then I realized later, much later that my mother had a gift… To make people smile and to feel good about themselves all in the most unconventional way.

My mentor has taught me to believe in people – not in a forced way but in her own way. To believe in people in a work setting, a social setting, with friends or when people need us the most, in difficult moments.
Forget the Internet, Facebook and work for a few minutes and realize that in this world, we are the sum of all of our activities and each and everyone’s contributions. ‘What we do to better this world is entirely up to us she used to say’. Making one person feel better is one step of attaining that goal of making the world a better place ’.
This was her way of improving the world, one person at a time.

Did she succeed?

I guess it doesn’t matter if she succeeded but I really do believe that she left a little something of her with everyone she touched. I would add that anything worth doing to better our world has to be done through people.

I am communicating with friends and family as part of my duties as executor and by doing so I am reminded of the effect she had on people. The same people she cherished and made her happy. It’s tough to reconnect with bad news but at the same time it connects us, puts us closer and brings back friendships and nice memories.


I hope I can one day, emulate her greatness. This is what a Mentor teaches you – to be really great in your own way, your career, your life and your dealings with people.


I will miss her smile, her love, her teachings, her quirky way of interacting with people but mostly I will miss her kindness and generosity


Her experience in giving back also compels me to help you detect the first signs of a stroke.
I now understand how ugly this disease really is but more importantly I learned that stroke effects can be minimized and cured if the victim acts quickly and seeks urgent medical attention within the crucial, first 3-4 hours of stroke-like symptoms such as 1) weakness (numbness in face, arm or leg), 2) trouble speaking (difficulty speaking or understanding), 3) vision problems, 4) Headache (sudden, severe and unusual) and 5) dizziness (sudden loss of balance).

Another way to detect is to remember the first three letters of the words STROKE: S, T and R.
1) Smile: If you suspect that someone has had a stroke, ask them to Smile…they cannot.

2) Tell: Another way of determining a stroke is to ask the person to Tell you a story or to complete a full sentence – they cannot. T also spells Tongue: Ask the victim to stick out their tongue. If they can, it will come out of their mouth crooked– sign of a stroke.

3) Raise: Ask the victim to raise both arms – they will not be able to if they have just had a stroke.

Any combination of these 5 symptoms should alert you to seek immediate, urgent medical assistance.
Strokes are silent killers. People who have strokes will remain unusually quiet and won’t want to create a fuss about how they are feeling or embarrassed about say, falling down. Strokes create permanent damage to the brain if not treated quickly. If you wait till the next day, the stroke effect will be permanent, debilitating and leads eventually to death. This was the case for my mentor. She waited since in her own typical way, she did not want to burden anyone.


If treated quickly it could reverse any damage the body and brain have sustained.
Please follow this link. It could be the best way to avoid saying farewell to your mentor!

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