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To be clear, I am squarely a Gen Xer. But being a Gen Xer means I was raised on the music of the 1960s and 70s — and after the week I’ve had, one thought and one song keeps coming back: To everything there is a season. 

 

This season, this cold winter, has so far been about sadness and grief. I was supposed to have dinner yesterday with a few other couples - dear “work” friends that we were socializing with here and there outside of work, as paths crossed and lines blur between work and home and day and evening. We joked that the dinner was scheduled three months out because such is the life of busy working parents of young to middle school aged children. Ha ha, dinner in three months. Who will have to reschedule first? 

 

Turns out, turn turn turn, it was me. Sadly, need to attend a memorial service out of town and support a dear friend through the loss of a parent - a lovely man who had been in declining health and was approaching 80. A sad loss, but not tragic. Not unexpected. Not out of the typical order of things. I cancelled the dinner, we said we’d reschedule, and then last Saturday brought the call that one of those friends, Matt Stehl, unexpectedly passed. 

 

Turn turn turn. I’ve been turning around ever since I got the news. To everything there is a season, but this unseasonable. And unreasonable. 46. My age. Young kids, same ages as mine. So many good years left. Career on a fast track. What a good guy. What happened? He died, it turns out, from a heart attack - which is appropriate in a macabre way, since he lived with so much heart. I reflected that his family suggested donations in his memory to a few causes near and dear to his heart - Moms Demand Action for one, which is the cause that kept our friendship strong as we worked behind the scenes for the last 7 or so years to support legislation and candidates that were focused on the safety of our kids and communities - a suggestion that honored his passions and not his passing. 

 

The line out the door and cars parked 1/4 mile up the road at the funeral home indicated that his was a life well-lived and he was a man well-loved. In his honor, I’ll keep fighting the good fight. In his honor, I’ll try harder than before to take nothing for granted, to be present for the big and small moments that make up a life. In his honor, I’ll reschedule that dinner again and again. 

 

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