Wednesday, September 05, 2007
Life Isn't Fair But It Has Its Compensations
Some administrative things first. The Morning Meeting went over it's 10,000th visitor recently. and our 237th independent comment not made by me. I am swelling with pride! I thought I'd share it with you. The data has just arrived.
I have written about Bernie Cohen, the guy in the foreground, before, when he died at the age of 92, and was buried about two months ago. The guy behind him is Steve Gearhart, his son-in-law of the past thirty years, and a particularly nice guy. This picture was taken last March at a very nice French restaurant that we all go to for Steve and his wife Sybil's birthday every year. This year, Bernie joined us, and it turned out to be the last time I saw him alive.
I bring Bernie up here because of all of the misery that is going around recently. It is everywhere, and I hate seeing my closest friends, myself included, miserable. Bernie was married and survived not one but two wives. Both wives lasted over twenty years, and loved him passionately until the day they died. Bernie reciprocated completely. He worked as a roofer. He owned his own company until he was 70 years old. Then he sold his company, but continued working until he was almost 80.
Bernie was a creature of habit. He had the exact same cold cereal for breakfast every day of his life. He did as many things as predictably as possible. We might not like his routine, he reveled in it. He adored his two daughters, and all of his grandchildren, their children, and their children. He lived to play with them.
When disaster struck Bernie, he mourned, then took refuge in his habits, and his work. He found fulfillment there, his identity was there, and ultimately a lot of his happiness. After his second wife died, Bernie maintained his independence until he came down with cancer at age 92. He had been dating three different woman at the time, but the cancer was wearing him out. He moved back to this area and moved in with Steve and Sybil. He lived with them for almost a year and was treated for his stomach cancer. Finally, the cancer got bad enough, and Bernie gave up. He had lived a full life.
I learned a lot from Bernie, as did we all. He was almost always laughing, he tried to see the best in life, when things got tough he turned to his core competencies and found joy, Bernie tried to spread happiness wherever he went. Bernie was a good man and I was happy to know him.
Steve, his son-in-law was the same way. He died Saturday morning at the University of Maryland hospital of pulmonary fibrosis at the age of 55. It is a total surprise that was just diagnosed.