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  • I've talked a bit about the book I read earlier this year, called "A Year To Live - How to Live This Year As If It Were Your Last", by Stephen Levine. Reading this book inspired me to explore some of my earlier life stories, to plumb the lessons and any lingering mysteries there. I've written a lot of my stories this year in that vein. It has been most revealing, and most ironically, has helped me to be so much more "present", in the moment.

    What happens is, something might have caused me to overreact and turn my back on an aspect of myself, because that's what I needed to do at the time. By going back and recalling the story, from the vantage point of the safe distance of the present, I've reaped some of the lessons I may have missed, and welcomed some parts of myself that have been denied all these years, back home. I like to think that, in the process, I've helped some others do the same.

    I talked about the book to a colleague at an offsite meeting in June, as we talked about caring for our dying parents. I shared how much it was helping me to be "present" for Mom, and for myself. Lynda was very interested, and noted the name of the book and author. I never followed up with her to see if she read it herself.

    Lynda was my age, a very bright scientist I used to work with years ago in the Office of Public Health Science. I always got the biggest kick out of working with her. Her enthusiasm and nonstop energy were contagious. She had the goofiest laugh you've ever heard. It was a beautiful laugh. We had the opportunity to work together again on this major initiative I've been tasked with taking a lead role on, and she has brought a ton of expertise and comprehension to the task of making sense out of the most complex project I have ever been associated with. Just a very bright, very inquisitive mind, always seeking a better way to do things.

    Last night, she got home from work, parked her car in front of her house, walked across the road to her rural mailbox on the other side, picked up her mail, turned around to carry her mail across the road to home, and she never saw the large car coming around the bend. She was struck by the car, and was pronounced dead on arrival at the emergency room of the hospital she was rushed to.

    Just like that. I've been trying to get my head around it all day. I learned of it in an email first thing this morning. I just can't seem to catch my breath today. We were supposed to be in a critical meeting together this afternoon. Somehow, the criticality of the meeting
    is just not registering with me. I might completely bomb out in it - and I just don't give a damn about any of that. I've lost a dear friend and a favorite colleague, and I just can't get my head around it. Not today.

    Sent from my iPhone
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