Over the couple of months several people whom I liked very much have passed away. J was a colleague turned friend who was a true kindred spirit - a Mormon mom who served as a Peace Corps volunteer, married an African, and worked in a parallel field. J's chronicle of pregnancy with cancer was searing and beautiful, and resulted in a healthy baby boy. I hadn't kept in touch with R, but he was one of the first people I met when I moved to Washington DC as a new convert; he helped me adjust to life in our congregation, and as a professional chef introduced me to writers such as MFK Fisher who combined literary and culinary delights. I never saw P in the US. The last two times we worked together were in Kenya and Malaysia. P was the most field-oriented academic I knew. I'm glad she was able to return to what she really loved, working with women in their home communities.
Along with the recent events in Nepal, these departures have made me melancholy and reflective. How would I like to be remembered, in the end? Waving, or drowning?*