It was a powerful sense of sadness.
I logged on at work and there was a message stating that my mailbox memory was nearly full and I had to delete some messages from both my "inbox" and my "delete folders". I decided, then and there, to just get it done. I was surprised to see that I hadn't done any clean up of my emails since I started at Vita nearly six years ago.
I went to click delete and then saw that it was from Manuela, Vita's Executive Director at the time who suddenly passed away a year and a half ago. I read the email. It was written in a style that was unique to her. It seemed oddly formal and then I realised that this was at the start of the journey we would have together over the next several years. It was hard, and it felt like a betrayal, but I hit delete.
Over the next hour I stopped now and then when a 're' line struck me as interesting and I found that I was tracking the course of our relationship as both boss/employee and as friends. There were the outraged emails she wrote when she disagreed with something on this blog. There were the congratulatory emails she sent when something I'd worked on had gone well. Delete. Delete. Delete.
A couple of times I read something that made me laugh out loud.
A couple of times I found myself wiping away tears.
A couple of times I paused to wonder at the odd relationship we had.
I deleted them.
That powerful sadness which first struck me began to give way.
The incredible guilt which greeted each push of the delete button also gave way.
Because I realised that I didn't need virtual memory of our relationship - I've got the real thing.