Monthly Archives: November 2008

Losing a Friend

In the Land of Lost Board Members, no loss is so great as the death of a community advocate, a community visionary. When it happens the community needs time to mourn As time passes a community must then regroup and find the next generation of advocates and leaders. When money gets tight, good organizations survive. When talent and leadership pass on, good organizations survive. Surviving doesn’t just happen. Those who led us, built their vision for the future of our community every day that they were with us. They strengthened us to carry on after them.

On this sad day, even the usual grayness of LOL seemed darker. I found several of my friends sitting quietly at the local LOL coffee shop, sharing reflections of members who were gone.

“I remember him saying to me,” sniffed Bella Pelorizado, local nonprofit scribe and consultant, “That by continuing his work I would keep his memory alive.”

Cash Now, CPA to nonprofits wiped a tear from his eye, “ She always told me to remember the children. They will carry on after us.”

Amos Alonzo Upright, retired coach and athletic booster, ran his hand through his hair as he reflected, “Damn, I thought he would always be around.”

On the table was the local newspaper open to the obituary page. It was a grim reminder that our community had lost several doers and dreamers in the last weeks.

  • “We lost their vision,” mourned Bella.
  • “We lost their energy,” whispered Cash.
  • “We lost their heart,” sighed the coach.

“Wait a minute,” intruded our local nonprofit news reporter, Birdie Inkstain, “you guys are sounding like real losers.” Birdie can be ruthless with her energetic zeal. We sat up straight. She had our attention. I hadn’t seen anyone with her kind of energy since the Music Man came to River City. She jumped onto one of the Main Street planters and sang out, “We didn’t lose anything. They left us with ideas. They left us with well run agencies. They left us with plenty of work still to be done.”

  • “Remember the laughter?”We nodded
  • “Remember the generosity?” We nodded.
  • “Remember the passion?” We nodded.

In her own way, Birdie was telling us that a worthy life is a life worth remembering. Birdie’s words were an inspiration. I could see the energy and commitment coming back to the table. Our little circle of sadness was rethinking itself.

“You’re right,” nodded Cash Now, “We haven’t lost what they taught us. They didn’t take the vision with them. They taught each one of us something about ourselves and about serving our community.”

“Now you’re getting it,” encouraged Birdie.

“Now you’re getting it,” encouraged Birdie.
Bella slammed her fist on the table, “I know better than to let misery win. It’s time to recommit to success. Every community leader we lost mentored each one of us in ways that would take advantage of our talents. We won’t be clones of those we lost, nor simple echoes of their work. We have trained with the best. We will move forward defining our community future in new ways.” Her fantastic curls spelled, “Amen.”

“We’ll never forget the principles and the ideals,” sang out Coach Upright. “We’ll never forget the time given in service of our community. We’ll never forget their lesson, their example.”

“That’s more like it,” cheered Birdie, “think about how grateful we are for what we learned. Think about the power of their legacy. Be thankful that we were here to learn.” Then she looked at each one of us as she raised her arms high and said, “Be forever challenged by their example, their courage and their love for our community.” She stepped down from the planter, put her hands on the table, looked each one of us in the eye and said, “We never lose anyone when we keep faith in what they taught us.”

We sat at our table and watched the breeze scatter the leaves. Then, the newspaper that carried the notices of our mourning, fluttered and drifted on the wind. As we sat and watched, the paper floated above and blended into the gray sky of the Land of the Lost.

November, 2008
November 2008 Losing a Friend