Last week, I learned of the unexpected death of my colleague and friend, Rob Inglis. He had a long career as the Director of IT at TriMark R.W. Smith. He was in that role when I joined the company as the newly appointed Director of Ecommerce & Marketing. I was exuberant and exhaustively driven, while Rob was methodical and measured. No doubt he looked upon me as a kinetic, Jack Russell-type, while I, in turn, had little appreciation for his calm, conventional approach. Somehow he managed to tolerate my unapologetic zeal and rigorous pace, along with my book-length emails with too many exclamation marks.
Within that first year, we ultimately had to come together, as we faced multiple technology and database challenges with the development and launch of the new ecommerce platform. The company relied on our partnership to resolve problems, design solutions, and execute action plans in alignment and in tandem.
I cannot point to a day or an event when the axis of our consciousness tethered, and the foundation of our relationship had a seismic shift (to the great relief of many witnessing our tautness).
What started merely as a “meeting of the minds” continued to evolve to greater depths of appreciation, gratitude, and humble respect. We discovered each other’s humor, aspirations, personal experiences, and professional goals. We shared our authentic voices. We began to lean on each other to be better at our individual craftsmanship. I opened my eyes to his talent and he embraced mine. Our humanity unfolded.
Over time, a genuine friendship formed as we further exposed our hidden spaces and revealed our vulnerabilities. I learned of his love and devotion for his wife and family. He became an advocate for my career goals. As “opposite” as we may have been, a bond forged that became precious to me. People often joked that he was my “work husband”, which was a bit true when you count how often I was at his office door needing his time and attention.
In my frequent moments of animated sharing, I failed to account for what he was privately enduring, and the toll it sometimes took. He simply put aside his unspoken struggles to accommodate my frenzied or fleeting thoughts, as though they truly deserved merit and rumination.
That is the truest form of giving in full presence and care. He cast aside his own troubles to hear of mine, even if they didn’t measure to more than a ripple in the tide.
Rob shall always remain a special friend in my heart and mind. By partaking in his journey, I’m gifted with the ability to thrive on the wings of his inherent patience and endless encouragement.
I’ll carry forward with the work that we both devoted ourselves to, never losing sight of the fact that his actions and efforts were often the source of light by which I could shine.
I grieve deeply for his family, and wish them comfort and peace in their days ahead. R.I.P. Rob.
In March 2021, my father turned 80 years old. He’s been causing trouble since 1941! He has also touched countless lives through his teaching and animal care & rehabilitation. I’m in awe of his devotion to his true calling and to the people he loves.
As with many lives, the journey through time for my father and me has been neither idyllic nor effortless. Our bond was interrupted by faulty moments and decisions. The years were not impeccable and, if inspected closely, illustrated by gaps of isolated torment.
But as with the seasons, the heart grows and the trials of the past are dissolved. As perspective, understanding, and most especially undogmatic and genuine love fill one’s soul, we can vanish the pains and struggles of years past. I am lucky to have found within me a surefooted openness and ability to embrace the true eminence my father who was once blemished only by my own shrouded and frail emotions.
I am grateful for all the moments and memories that we have shared over the years, and every single Red Sox game that became our annual father-daughter outing.
I created a video to showcase his journey, which is expressed from my heart. For he is the man who walked me around the track after finishing a race in high school, and still has his arm around my shoulder to this very day.
Like the rest of the global population, I feel the intense anguish and isolation from the global pandemic. While the world feels as though the sphere has come off it’s axis, we must reflect on life’s beauty and the rapture of love and laughter. I created a video to capture this extraordinary time, which is marked by deep sadness and equally by immeasurable hope and appreciation for the intangible gifts in humanity and in one’s heart.
View my video here:
Somewhere between yesterday and forever,
I stand barefoot on this salty shore,
Gazing out at crystal blue waters.
Realizing all that surrounds me,
And all that I am,
Is the life I have been given.
And I smile a little,
Knowing its mine to adore,
Giving pieces of myself to those who wander by.
I want to make this journey through time,
An endless adventure,
Filled with wonderment and joy.
I want the strength to love wholly.
I need the courage to seek my destiny.
I am looking inside myself,
To discover the myriad of colors,
Which will ultimately paint the portrait of my dreams.
I have come from the shadows,
To feel on my tear-stained face,
The sun’s profound and immeasurable light.
Its brilliancy is my own.
It is in the simplicity of fate that I challenge the origin. Nothing can be so plain, as to not hold somewhere in its layers… colors of contrast. What may be visible to my naked and blinking brown eyes is blinding me of my opportunities to comprehend, with fortitude and faith, the reasoning of this life.
In case and in light, the truths are slow to be discovered, I shall reveal all that I’ve come to know is genuine….
That life’s journey is a process ever-evolving.
Physical beauty is merely imagery enhanced.
The value of trust can never be bargained.
Appreciation lies, peacefully, with validation.
Hardness is an ugly version of pain.
Tainted intentions pierce the still sweet innocence of unconditional love.
Challenge speaks to fear, fearlessly.
Heart-felt must be heart-lived.
And most of all, one’s movement through time must matter.
It was early on a Sunday morning as I stood with a handful of other patient shoppers outside of Trader Joe’s neighborhood market when I encountered the newspaper man. TJ (as the locals call it) was not yet open for business- so those of us in need of soy milk, almond granola, organic fruits and the like waited in a loose sort-of semi circle around the front glass doors of the store. I was standing off to the side, amusing myself by people-watching. I spotted a very old Cadillac, faded blue in color with a sun-bleached top, pull into the parking lot very slowly. Cars behind the unhurried Cadillac swiftly made their way around the vehicle with a seemingly annoyed acceleration.
The Cadillac moved into a parking space just across the way from our health food haven, and from the driver side stood up a very elderly man. He was easily in his eighties, and maybe more years to his biography than that. His thin white hair was neatly combed to one side. He paused by the side of his car to straighten the dark blue polyester jacket that he wore over a pressed white shirt and light blue, undistinguished tie. Gray polyester pants with soft black shoes completed his attire.
He came from an era when Sunday’s were meant for proper suits worn at church and family meals. He carried his fragile frame in a way that told the world that he was not influenced or impressed by changing times and casual costumes of others. Through the decades, his dignity had not been interrupted by fashionable foolhardy youngsters.
I can understand why a Key West vacationer would feel compelled to depart their established life with its demands, duties, and drudgeries to move to the Florida island without expectations nor a job awaiting them. Having just returned from a week on the six square mile key that defines itself by wood cottages painted in bright pastel hues, lush foliage and flowering trees, mesmerizing sunsets, and turquoise waters, I’m overcome with a sense of longing to call myself a resident of the aptly named Conch Republic.
The Florida Keys are deceptive, having the appearance of being just a handful of small islands. The most recognizable being Key Largo, at the north end, and Key West, the farthest south. The Keys are joined together by a stretch of Hwy 1 and several bridges, one of the most famous being the Seven Mile Bridge which connects Knight’s Key (considered to be part of the Middle Keys) with Little Duck Key, the first of the Lower Keys. In truth, there are well over a thousand keys, with names as bland as Sand Key and Grassy Key to those with unusual names such as Lignumvitea Key and Bahai Honda Key. There is even a No Name Key, suitable for those in a witness protection program.
Should one opt for the hundred plus mile drive down to Key West along the at times exasperatingly slow-moving and often single lane highway, one can look forward to unmatched views of tropical island life, grassy marshes, and breathtaking seascapes, as well as outdated, awry towns , containing rickety shops with make-shift signs, road-side eateries with screened-in picnic tables and hanging fly traps, and tourist attractions with a sort of thespian, old world quality.
I agree that self-confidence is a must-have component to achieving exceptional milestones in life. I see it quite differently when considering the actual fuel that takes us to achieve those sought after great heights.
Self-confidence does not contain octane. Being afraid – as you make your way out onto an untried ledge – does.
A Hollywood director may be lauded for his powerful piece of cinematic art, and yet he reaches that enviable height of success with the same doubts, fears, and anxieties that many face when they, too, endeavor their passion.