For the past 14 days I have watched students, colleagues and friends grieve over the sudden passing of two highly respected educators. Jim Letcher and Andy Kargel touched the lives of many, and their influence will be felt for years to come.
While struggling to put their lives in perspective, I was reminded of a poem that was read at the memorial service of a dear friend of mine several years ago. I hope others find as much peace in the poem as I have...
Gone From My Sight
I am standing upon the seashore. A ship, at my side, spreads her white sails to the moving breeze and starts for the blue ocean. She is an object of beauty and strength. I stand and watch her until, at length, she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says, "There, she is gone."
Gone from my sight. That is all. She is just as large in mast, hull and spar as she was when she left my side. And, she is just as able to bear her load of living freight to her destined port. Her diminished size is in me, not in her.
And, just at the moment when someone says, "There, she is gone" there are other eyes watching her coming, and other voices ready to take up the glad shout, "Here she comes!"
- Henry Van Dyke
In loving memory of:
James E. Letcher - November 7, 1953 to March 6, 2014
Andrew Jacob Kargel - April 6, 1979 to March 13, 2014