On being human: In memory of a great teacher

Recently I was packing up my room (in the processes of moving to Duluth, which is a story we’ll save for another day).   I came across a writing that I did last winter, when I was preparing to go to Nepal.  Now that it has been just about a year since Molly passed away, I feel it is appropriate to share just a little bit of what she meant to me with all of you.  Molly was a friend and a mentor, a confidant as well as the best boss I ever had.  The following is a snippet of my thoughts from last winter:

Today I had an overwhelming wave of sadness at the loss of Molly.  All day I was met by things that she had said or done, memories of the past, and gifts she had given me: talking about birding, a friend’s wedding she had officiated, the ‘Mid Winter’s Mix’ cd she had given us, the map on the wall she had given me before I went on my first travels, the knitting needles and yarn (another gift).  So many books on my shelf were gifts from her – another way she showed her love and love of learning.  So many tangible and intangible gifts she gave me.  She has impacted nearly every corner of my life, sometimes greatly, sometime minutely.  It was her capacity to love, I think, and to make people feel that love. Whether by providing a listening ear, a thank you note in your mailbox, or a kick in the pants when she could tell you were slacking off – she showered those around her with love.

The human condition is so complex.  It is incredible the visceral, physiological reactions we have to grief. I remember when I got the news of her unexpected passing and had to relay the news on to my loved ones, I was numb down to the core of myself.  Both shaking and still at the same time.  On the verge of vomiting, but without the ability to do so.   And I was not even one of her inner circle.  I cannot even imagine the experience of those truly close to her.

I feel like today my pain is selfish – I am so sad because I want to tell her things – to ask her advice, to seek her support and guidance.  

“What advice would Molly give to me in this situation?” 

“If Mol was in my position, what would she do?”

 “I can’t wait to tell Mol about this.”  

I feel so thankful for the people Mol brought into my life.  Some of my most near and dear friends, who have also played an instrumental role in who I am today were introduced to me by Molly. She had a knack for seeing the true you and matching you with others.  I have had so much more joy and adventures in my life as a result.  These people (and Molly) have pushed me to be a better version of myself, to continually push past my comfort zones, and to always reassess what is important in life. I would not be the person I am today without these people. 

A continuing theme through some of my writing has been the feeling of being needed in the world, but also unneeded.  To feel as though you fill an indispensable niche, that only you can fill, but also that you are just a small segment of something greater.  A reminder that you are just a blip in the larger scheme of things.  That life will continue onward if you are not there. 

This need to feel as if you are a part of something greater than yourself is arguably part of being human too.   Throughout history religion has been some people’s answer.  But I think it is much more complex (or maybe more simple) than that.  Molly was a force that created so much joy in the world.  The sheer number of folks who were touched by her love and then are currently spreading it to everyone that they meet is exponential.  One person, fulfilling her niche, many niches.  Being part of something greater than herself.  Being needed as an individual, but impacting the world in such a way that the impact continues even when she is gone.

I will strive to touch people’s lives with the love that Molly showed me.  To continue to look for the love in the world – and also to remember that, to quote her, “The world is my classroom.”  I have many things to teach others, and they have many things to teach me.  I have lessons to teach the world, and the world has infinite lessons for me to learn. 

The world is my classroom.  A mantra to live by.  Share your truth with others, and be open to the truths that they share with you.  I aspire to share my truth as Molly did, and continues to do. Thank you Molly, for being such a friend, role model, and positive force in the world.