When reminiscing about days gone by do you ever Google people from your past to see what they’re doing? Every so often whether I’m just feeling nostalgic or looking to reconnect, I Google people I’ve known to see where they are and what they’re doing. I have to say that I’ve had two huge surprises this year that have been weighing on my mind as I did my year in review.
Over the summer I began searching for Barbara Keith-Smith. Barbara was a psychotherapist and I shared my first private practice office with her. I found it odd that in the past there were no listings for her but this summer I tried once more and there she was, a listing. Unfortunately the listing was a public notice talking about her estate. When I read that I wasn’t sure if it was the same person until I read who the executor of the estate was; it was her daughter. I felt a deep sense of sadness. She was a young woman with a loving family who had many trials and tribulations in her life.
The second search was for people I’d worked with at nonprofit agencies in the 1990’s. I was the program manager for an HIV/AIDS program and we had a wonderful psychiatrist, Dr. Timothy Brower, who volunteered his time to do evaluations for our clients. Many of these clients were either underinsured or uninsured so it was a tremendous service for him to provide. His first career was as an architect who designed hospitals. Then he decided to go to medical school and become a psychiatrist. After I left California, he rented an office in the same office building where I’d had my private practice office. I was last there about 3-1/2 years ago and his name was on the door. The recent Google search only showed two listings; a phone directory listing and much to my surprise an obituary. Dr. Timothy Brower died in December of 2007 of ALS (Lou Gehrig’s Disease). This has been a complete shock and it has been weighing heavily on my mind over the past week. He was gifted, gracious with a heart as good as gold.
I’m a little Google shy at the moment, especially for people I haven’t been in touch with over the past 5-10 years. I’m sure I’ll get right back in the saddle, but for now I just want to hold a sacred space for these two people who had such an impact on my professional and personal life. They are two people who made the world a safe place for those facing challenges. They were both contributors to their communities and great role models in the professional arena.
I guess what this brings home in a big way is that life is impermanent. As those of you facing an illness know there is no good time to be sick. There is no way of knowing when or why or how certain illnesses will strike. The only control we have in our lives is how we live each day.
As we begin 2009 I’m honored to share these moments with you. I look forward to 2009 as we deepen our journey to health and healing. As your Sherpa I’m grateful for the opportunity to serve.