A Day in the Life

A day in my life. Thoughts on leadership, management, startups, technology, software, concurrent development, etc... Basically the stuff I think about from 10am to 6pm.

7/14/2006

The wheel of life keeps on turning...

This week has been a rough one at home and a very good one at work. My uncle died on Sunday morning. He was struggling with cancer and lost. And then on Monday a friend of mine lost her battle and died of respiratory failure. My uncle was 64 and my friend was 81. This is a strange time in my life. There was such a long period where I hadn’t lost anyone that I lost touch with the fact that life is a cycle. And that death is a part of it. I wrote the following for my uncle and my cousin’s wife read it at the service this morning. One thing that I want to pass on as a final gift to him is the notion that when we give of ourselves we get more back then we could ever imagine.

Life is like a pond in a rain storm. The water drops dance across the surface creating ripples that start, fan out, connect, grow, and eventually end. So like a water drop have you created ripples in my life. Ripples that have affected and continue to affect other people. It is in others that our greatest gifts live.

I needed help when I was a teenager and you were there. You gave me a home where I could feel safe and loved, a car which gave me freedom, and an education that gave me a future. In return, I helped Dody get a car to taste her own freedom and an education so that she could truly be free. I have helped others: friends, acquaintances, and strangers; because of the lessons that you taught me. Through your gifts to me, you have helped hundreds of other people and through our gift to them, thousands more. Ripples fanning out, touching, growing, changing.

My greatest and most precious ripples are those created by my children. The children that I have because you taught me that the love of a parent toward her child is not dependent on the ties of blood. That the bonds built by time, nurture, and love are the real bonds. That a child does not have to be born of the flesh, to live in the heart.

As you move from this world to the next, know that your gifts have spread and echoed. That in you was a beginning, not just for me but for all those others whom you helped as well. And through us your legacy is alive and will continue to live, passing from us to others, and then onto others, echoing onward through time.

I met my friend Jody about 8 years ago. She is Mal’s best friend’s mother. I remember the night that I first had the feeling that she was someone special. Mal and I had gone to Telluride to visit relatives and it just happened that Jody and her husband Charles were there at their second home. They invited us over for cards and to meet two European fellows that I think were scientists. Both Jody and Charles are scientists so that is probably right. Anyway, we were playing Bump, which is a card game. I remember sitting across from Jody and frustrating the hell out of her because I wasn’t playing the “right” way. Basically I played an attack approach to the game instead of a defensive approach and I could see it was getting to her. Finally she had enough and threw a card at me. You have to understand my competitiveness and my sense of humor. Jody threw the card in a joking but frustrated fashion and at that moment she crossed that invisible line between the people I trust and the people I don’t trust. I like competitors, fighters, people who can use humor to defuse situations. And I really like people who can be honest about who they are and what they are feeling. Over the years we’ve played cards on many other occasions, but this week I realized that we hadn’t played enough. There was more to this impressive woman than her card playing and I missed out on a great opportunity to really know someone I want to be like when I grow up.

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