That’s the selfish statement, and it’s the only moment I’ll take to be selfish and indulge in it being about me.
While I lost a friend, and someone whom I was so fortunate to get to work with on policy and advocacy with the American College of Surgeons, this loss isn’t mine, and I know it’s felt more deeply by some who were closer to him. Chad was a role model, someone who I would easily say I want to be “when I grow up” (even though I think he would be displeased with me referring to him as being a grown up).
Chad’s obituary says little to help those who didn’t know him understand who he really was; you get an inkling from the picture with his fabulous, mischievous smile and more hints from the descriptions of some of the accolades he received.
When I started on the Surgeons PAC Board, it was an intimidating place. I was the youngest surgeon in the room who wasn’t there as a representative of the residents or the young surgeons, and I was the only woman surgeon in the room. Chad was an immediate friend- someone who made it clear that my being there was important to the group and to him personally. We bonded over policy wonk things, and we bonded even more over our devotion to our rescue animals.
Here’s the most important thing about Chad, and why I said I was celebrating as I write: he would not want it any other way. When I remember Chad, it’s almost entirely about his kindness, his generosity, his belief that we each really can make the world around us better and that it’s not an overwhelming task. Chad was smart, he was funny, he was talented, and he cared deeply.
My wish is that each of us today will dig deeply to be a little kinder, to be a little more thoughtful, even in moments when it’s not easy to do so (or particularly in the moments when it’s not easy to do so). I’m also remembering this week the importance of making that call, finding the time for that friend. You just don’t know when it will be the last time you get to be with them.
(N.B. I drafted this a couple of days ago, before Philando Castile was shot and killed and before last night’s unimaginable events in Dallas. I thought about keeping the blog dark today because of those events, mostly because I simply have no adequate response to what’s going wrong in America right now. Then I decided that I was going to post remembering Chad because he was so filled with kindness and goodness, and that is EXACTLY what we need more of right now.)