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Seven Month Milestone | Work Stuff

“Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.” - Robert Frost (Found on Teri's facebook Profile)

Yesterday marked the the seven-month anniversary of Teri's passing, an event that coincided with a professional trip to San Jose for a conference on artificial intelligence, hosted by one of my vendors, Moveworks. Being an strong introvert, I've grown accustomed to avoiding such gatherings when possible, having experienced more than my fair share throughout my career, but this one caught my attention—perhaps because it promised insights into AI, a field that's rapidly reshaping our world.

I'm thankful I went and had a great time. I am thankful for all the first world problems I have, like having too many desserts to eat:

Speaking of AI, I had this crazy idea shortly after Teri passed away that perhaps one day, AI can digest all my digital content I have of Teri like the video below and recreate an interactive, digital version of her. Seems scary that it’s probably a matter of when, not if, that day will come. I’m not sure how I’d feel interacting with an AI Teri. Most likely it would make me sad since I know it’s not real.

Finding my "Why" at work

A recent conversation with a colleague—now my accountability partner and mentor—urged me to reflect on my deeper motivations and think about what's my "why" at work before my next meeting. Its a great question. Amazon is really big with the principle of customer obsession, and in the field of IT where I operate, my customers are my fellow employees. It's easier to serve them as I get to know them better and understand their challenges more intimately. It's disheartening to see them overextend themselves, working late hours, with their family life and well-being on the line. And after Teri's passing and realizing how short life can be, this resonates with me more than ever. I'm all for working hard, just not too much.

Here's my "why" I've developed over the years in the field I work in: If I can help my colleagues better use technology with the hope that it will streamline our operations and save them time, then perhaps I can grant them more precious moments with their loved ones or for themselves. Time that's more valuable than any work commitment. This was also a driver in attending the conference, seeking out disruptive AI solutions that could bolster productivity hopefully resulting in better quality of life.

Teri and I had a lot of tough conversations regarding work, and even tougher conversations when I would get home late without having a good reason. I struggled with her opinion since my anxiety towards work was real and I struggled to manage it. She was amazing at her work and set a really good example to me on what it means to work hard and play hard. The latest project she supported before she passed away was the the home page of the Truist Long Game app:

Since I'm talking about work, I'll get this video out of the way that showed how much fun it was to talk to Teri about work. This isn't on my top 10, even with Mustard in it:

I really hope I was on the phone with someone and this wasn't me actually talking to Teri.

Lesson learned from the video: Don't talk too much about work around others that may not be interested.

Finding my "Why" with Muir Rock

The "why" for my blogging? I don't know since no one really blogs anymore and sometimes I think I'm crazy writing this often when there are so many other things to do. While I put some of the why in the about section, my needs seem to change often. Lately, it’s been hard to talk about Teri in person or on the phone. She doesn’t come up in conversation as much. It's been seven months. It feels a bit selfish to bring her up all the time, even if most people wouldn't mind. This blog lets me keep her memory alive and talk about what I learned from being with her. There's still so much to share about our first year of marriage, a tough one since we got married right before COVID hit. We didn’t have many friends or family around.

Marriage is such a big commitment. My friend who recently got married shared,"it feels weird knowing I’m permanently stuck with someone." I'm really happy for her, as I find it to be a miracle when people find "the one." Sometimes I think of how convenient it is that people in other places get arranged marriages and they tend to work out. I've also learned a lot about divorce as well and understand that like grief, most people won't understand why people make such difficult decisions.

Lately, I've also spent time feeling thankful that Teri chose to marry me in the first place. I miss our banter regarding how I would always say that she's getting such a great deal marrying me because my love language is "acts of service" and felt like I was always taking care of her in so many ways. She usually wouldn't agree, and usually in a joking way, think the opposite, stating that "I tricked her" into marrying me. Let's just say we both got a great deal marrying each other and there's a lot to still share about all the good times we had.

Deep down, I really want to live life to the fullest and not just write about life, even though writing helps me cope. I understand that grief is a personal journey, but if my words can comfort someone else who is also mourning, then sharing is worth it. The most heartwarming moments I've had this year were when people talked about their own losses. To all of you reading and responding, your support means a lot, giving me the space and time to express more than I ever expected. Thank you to all the active listeners in my life, something I need to practice on when you come over:

Lesson of the Day: Be a good active listener to the friends and family you'll see this weekend. And speaking of the weekend, I will enjoy it even more now that I've finished this post and hope you do the same.

Thanks for reading!


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Emilyn Edillon
Emilyn Edillon
Nov 03, 2023

I miss Teri’s laugh and smile. You can talk about Teri to me or in the siblings chat room anytime.


That last video 😂 I like how Teri didn't respond right away when you asked the first time. And how she put down her tablet when you engaged her, modeling active listening.

"Let's just say we both got a great deal marrying each other..."

^Also just want to say a huge yes to this. You got a great deal, and she did too.

Great blog, Erwin! Glad you're continuing to keep at it.


Jenny Scott
Jenny Scott
Nov 03, 2023

Oh my goodness! This is one of my favorite posts!! I love how you shared about how you love helping your team at work have more time to make memories with their loved ones. That is so thoughtful of you. But my favorite thing is the video of Teri! I love her so much and miss her deeply! I love how she is so fun in the car with Mustard, I love how she listens to you, I love how she is honest, and I love her laugh. That was hilarious when she said you are not an active listener! Hilarious! I just want to sit and eat popcorn with her right now😢🩷I LOVE how you take the time to…

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