Friday, July 25, 2008

I Bid You Adieu, Randy Pausch

I opened up Yahoo this fine day, and saw that Randy Pausch passed away today from cancer. He was 47.

I first noticed this man when someone I know sent me an email link to his "Last Lecture", which was posted on YouTube -- and gained national attention because he was featured on Oprah. I usually rarely watch video clips people send me, especially when I have no idea what they are about. For some reason, I decided to watch this one. I won't go into the lecture, because if you really want to find our more you can read his obituary articles or even go to YouTube and look him up for yourself.

The whole point of my post is that I remember watching this clip and being moved by it, mostly because he remined me that life is short, unfair, cruel and could end at any moment. I'm not trying to be morbid here, but it's a fact. I was also moved because he has three small children, and when I say small -- I want to guess they are all under the age of 5. Being a mother, reading about his death made me very sad that his children will grow up and will not know him. Of course, I won't know him either and for all I know he could have been a real asshole. But my gut says he was a decent person who appeared to really love his children, his wife, his family -- and now that family will have to continue their lives without him.

Randy Pausch's death reminded me of when my friend Sandy died (September 11, 2002). I remember the date because it was "September 11th" and also because I was pregnant at the time. At the time of her death, Sandy was 33 and had two small children. And when I say small, her daughter was not quite 2 years old and her son was around 9 months old. I was sad for Sandy's children the same way that I am sad for Randy's Pausch's children. No one should have to grow up without either parent. I can't even imagine what that must be like.

All of this just makes me think of Daughter and how deep my feelings go for that kid. I love her so much it hurts and makes me scared. Scared in a way where now I see all the dangers in the world, from "look both ways before you cross the street" to "don't talk to strangers, even when they tell you mommy said it's ok or that they want you to see their new kitten". Danger is everywhere and it's my job as a parent to safeguard her from those dangers that she is too innocent to see. Sure Sandy's children have their dad and all of their extended family, and Randy Pausch's kids have their mom and all of their extended family. But their built-in protectors are down by 1.

It's a damn shame. I will be spending some of my time today thinking about Sandy and Randy Pausch and reflecting on my job as a parent and how I can make every second count when it comes to my daughter.

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