Last evening, I saw the startling news that a man I would characterize as a marvelous human being had unexpectedly passed away. Apparently, he was attending a family gathering at the time of his death.
I was shocked! Saddened! Sorry that going forward, I won’t be able to engage in wonderful, thought provoking conversations with this kind and gentle man. (At least not in the human sense).
One of the things about social media, is that it allows for photos and memories to be shared widely. There have been many lovely tributes written by mutual friends. The outpouring of support and sadness has been huge.
As I read the tributes being shared, and remember the very limited time I spent in his company, it was clear that he was more remarkable than I’d known. That his presence had a powerful and wonderful impact on the lives that his life touched. Just in my circle, I know that there are many who will have tears in their eyes, but also a warmth in their heart as they replay the highlight reel of the time they spent together.
Being one to not let a call for self-reflection go unanswered, I started to think about how I might be remembered upon my eventual death. (Hopefully a very long time from now) While I can probably never know for sure, I certainly hope that I’ll be remembered kindly as a man who was reliable, honest, caring, gentle, funny and more.
But as I reflect on what I see in the mirror, not surprisingly, I can see ways that I fall more than a little short in living as the man I hope I am, and want to be.
So…for the next little while, there will be some time spent in assessing the ways I want my interaction with those I love, those I know, even those I’ve never met to be kinder, more gentle, more genuine.
Because, despite the fact that like everyone else walking around on legs, I believe we do the absolute best we know how to do, from the place we are in the moment. When we know more, when we know better, it is incumbent on us to then DO better.
I cannot know if in his life, my friend struggled with such things, or if his kindness, his gentleness, his love of life and the people around him was just naturally him. But it really doesn’t matter. The end result was a very good man. He worked hard, he played hard, he laughed easily and often. He left a mark. And with his passing, he left a hole in a lot of hearts and lives.
Over the years, I have believed and said that I think the world would be much better if we had much more Mr. Fred Rogers. I will now add a name to that thought… Dr. Kevin Flood.
I hope that as those who knew him reflect on his impact on their life, and as others who know people who were close to him see the great love he gave and received, that we will each take a look in the mirror to see if we’re living up to our potential. Striving for maximum kindness and gentleness. Savoring each person in our lives. Living each minute we are given, not knowing which minute will be our last.