I’ve been stalling, hoping I might be magically inspired to to write about something other than loss. Alas, my muses seem to prefer the truth, so I will relent.

Since Thanksgiving, five people in my life have died. All of them were taken too soon. All of them were unique and exceedingly kind. They were family, good friends, a dear co-worker. Each loss has had a big impact on me. None more so, of course, than the recent loss of my Dad.

I do not feel at peace about these deaths. They just feel tragic. I do, however, find great inspiration in the way they lived and in who they were. I have come away from this season of loss with this: one person touches many, many lives. It can not be overstated. It is a simple, glorious, truth.

To honor them, and perhaps to comfort myself, I would like to share a little piece of what I have learned from each of these treasured individuals, all of whom made a beautiful mark on the World. In no way do these pieces encompass their significance or the spectacular love they gave. They are merely select examples of everlasting gifts that I will carry with me, gratefully, forever. I hope they inspire you as well.

From Tom, age 61: To be a gifted conversationalist you must first be an exceptional listener. You must posses a keen and genuine curiosity. And if you are especially gifted, as he was, you truly care about what is being said and the person saying it. Also, sensitive souls make the planet more peaceful.

From Tommy, age 24: 1)You can be highly efficient and super casual at the same time. 2) Consider all sides of a story, and of a person, and be brave enough to stand up for those who are not there to stand up for themselves. He was way ahead of his years on this.

From Christine, age 34: As a doctor, or healer of any kind, you can make a true difference in people’s lives. You must care deeply and treat each person with enough respect to see them as they are, see who they are and believe in their ability to get better. To excel at this and still have an abundance of love and attention to bestow upon your many friends and family is remarkable, and she did just that.

From Jeff, age 42: Don’t just enjoy life, revel in it. True friendship is pure gold and worthy of your acute attention. And, for the love of God, be interesting and be yourself! It doesn’t take a genius to know that. Or perhaps it does. Jeff was indeed a genius.

From John aka Pops, age 73: I have a lifetime of lessons and take aways from my Dad and am sure to write about many of them as I process this tremendous loss. For now I’ll say this: Reading some of his early correspondence and hearing from his colleagues, I have come to recognize that he genuinely loved his work in the World. He was a book lover who spent his life in a Library, an intellectual who worked at a University, a music lover who wrote about music, taught music and played music. I always admired him for his hard work and his refined sense of responsibility, both to his family and his career. But I love that as responsible as he was to us, he was also responsible to himself. He lived the life of his choosing. I do find peace in that.

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