L.T. Force, Ph.D.
The Summer Magazine arrived from my Alma Mater yesterday. When you receive one of these College Magazines they come in a paper format….but: “it’s wrapped in Memories and Reflections”. It was great to take a look at how vibrant the campus is….how strong and future oriented the leadership is….they are realizing their vision…. and doing it so well.
Working my way through the magazine pages - I was very impressed with the stories of current events and happenings - ongoing on the campus, as well as the recognition and awards that Faculty were receiving from Federal, State and Local funding agencies - applauding and acknowledging their research. But as I continued to go through the magazine….I came to the last page - where the:
"In Memoriam" section was found - acknowledging and listing the alumni/alumnae who had passed away over this last year. Their names were listed by: “year of graduation”.
As I continued to look at the list of names - I focused on the year I had graduated college - 1974….and listed there were two names (two men) who were in my graduating class. Both of these men I knew, in fact one of the men - I went to High School with. As I came across these two names…. the announcement of their deaths stopped me right in my tracks and: “flooded me with memories of the past….good memories…. fun memories…but, in that same moment, I was also struck with the harsh reality that overshadowed any hint of fond memories….these two men were in my age range - and both had died over this last year”.
One of these men I met in my college years. The other man I knew when I was growing up and we went to High School together. When I saw their names in the College Summer Magazine - I searched for their obituaries in the local paper. One man, the fellow I attended High School with, I was aware had entered the Priesthood. The other man was in the field of psychology, counseling and casework. Both men, although different in personality, style and interests had: “chosen a life path to be of service to others”. In reading the obituaries it was clear that although different in many ways - they shared many similarities. Testimonials of their lives and the people they surrounded themselves with - and the people in life they had touch was so evident. The other startling connection is that both men died during the time of the COVID - Quarantine where assembly and collective rituals were prohibited. However, their lives and memories were not restricted or bound by the restrictions of COVID - and instead what permeated through was the lasting images and memories of their lives.
Interesting enough, I knew both of them, however, they did not know each other in life - but have created a shared and common message in their deaths - and that is: “regardless of the path you take in life….being present for others is the most precious gift you can give to someone”. Your life work speaks beyond your life when you are applauded and remembered for the: “gift of your presence”. Thank-you both for giving me the: “gift of rich and fulfilling memories….the gift of a powerful and deep reflection”. It is: “Reflection Time”. for sure.
Well done my Friends….well done….Godspeed and Rest in Peace.