Randy Pausch Passes Away

I just returned home from a lunch date with my friend Kirk to find that Randy Pausch has passed away early this morning as a result of his terminal pancreatic cancer. Kirk and I were discussing his book and life at lunch today, with each of us remarking on how much he had made us think about a lot of things we might not have otherwise.

You’ll notice that his book, “The Last Lecture” is over on the right hand column under “What I’m Reading.” It has been there for a while because the book, that was a result of his famous “Last Lecture” given at Carnegie Mellon University last September, was a difficult one for me to get through. In a strange coincidence, I had just finished reading the book last night because I was reading it in small bits and then setting it aside. As I shared with Kirk today and with Cindy earlier, it was, for me, difficult on an emotional level to process the book all at once. I had watched the lecture presentation when it appeared on the Internet and had ordered the DVD for our personal collection, but there was something even more visceral in the act of reading the words of a man who was speaking and writing for his young children who will grow up without him physically in their lives.

When I closed it last night I wondered to myself how much longer he might have. Sadly, it was not much at all. “Time is all you have.” he wrote at the end of chapter 23, “And you may find one day that you have less than you think.”

Randy Pausch has had a tremendously positive impact on the lives of people who never even met him. I feel there must be many people out there who, facing a terminal prognosis like his, have found the strength of character to face it head on with courage and grace. He was an inspiration to us all, and our world is a better place for having him in it these past 47 years, and especially these past 11 months.

My sincerest sympathy to his wife, Jae, and their three young children. Your husband and father was, in the end, what we all should aspire to be in terms of our humanity.

Rest in peace, sir, and thank you for all you gave, to your family and, by extension, to the rest of the world.

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