We Never Lose the People We Love, Even to Death

alex atkins bookshelf quotations“A short time ago a very special friend died. We had valued and nurtured our relationship for over thirty years. We had our ups and downs during that time, but we were determined that nothing would interfere with our ever-growing friendship. I  think often of the wonderful, crazy experiences we had together, of the many changes each of us went through and of the deep sharing which bonded us for life.

I know for certain that we never lose the people we love, even to death. They continue to participate in every act, thought and decision we make. Their love leaves an indelible imprint in our memories. We find comfort in knowing that our lives have been enriched by having shared their love. Though some day we all have to part with those we love, they are not lost. We are always better for having loved. In this way, love transcends even death. To quote Thomas Campbell [and a version of one of my favorite quotes], ‘To live in the hearts we leave behind, is not to die.'”

From Born For Love: Reflections on Loving by Leo Buscaglia (1924-1998), known affectionately as “Dr. Love” at the University of Southern California in the Department of Special Education. A student who committed suicide had a huge impact on Buscaglia. He deeply pondered the meaning of life and people’s sense of disconnectedness. That period of contemplation inspired his legendary class, Love 1A, which despite not having any credits, was immensely popular with the students. That course, and the discussions and experiences that took place there, became the wellspring for 14 books — many of them bestsellers — and topics for his popular lectures that were featured on PBS during the 1980s. In the last interview before he died, Buscaglia was asked how he wanted to be remembered; he replied, “I’d like to be remembered for being a good, kind, loving, gentle man who attempted to live wisely, and who cared a lot.”

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