Who Was That Person By Rich Edler

Posted on January 25, 2016 at 1:05 PM

Who was that person? He looked like me. He talked like me. But I don't think I know him anymore.

Who was that person? He had so many friends. He was popular at cocktail parties and told good jokes. Today, he seeks out one person he can really talk to and that is enough. His telephone Rolodex is a lot smaller, but so much more important.

Who was that person? He had such different priorities. He skated over life, like an ice skater on a frozen pond. He never thought about how cold the water was. Now he has a totally new perspective on the world. He reaches out to people who hurt because he knows how they feel. He has been there. He has felt the ice water.

Who was that person? He had an orderly chronological sense of time. Now the world is divided forever into simply “before” and “after”.

Who was that person? He used to rush through dinner or cut the family vacation short to get back to the office. Now he thinks back to the family times as the most wonderful times of his life. He knows what is irreplaceable.

Who was that person? He used to worry about so many imaginary troubles, most of which never happened anyway. Now he spends most of his time in the present. He appreciates today’s sunset, daisies, simple things and good friends. He knows how precious each moment is.

Who was that person? He used to think about what he wanted to get out of life. Now he thinks about how grateful he is for the gifts he has had.

Who was that person? He used to measure his goals in terms of where he is going. Now he focuses more on what his life will have been about. He asks less and less why his child died, and more often: “Why did he live?”

Who was that person? He had never heard of The Compassionate Friends. Now they are his best friends. And he knows that be helping someone else through TCF, he also helps himself.

Who was that person? I don’t think I know him anymore.

Rich and his wife Kitty are founding members of the South Bay/LA Chapter of The Compassionate Friends. Son Mark died in 1992 and Rich’s first book “If I Knew Then What I Know Now” is dedicated to him. His following book, “Into the Valley and Out Again” is the story of a father’s grief after the loss of his son and the changes in priorities and approaches to life that follow.” Rich served on TCF’s National Board of Directors for several years including as president of the board. He died in February of 2002. Kitty is the current president of TCF’s National Board of Directors.

©Rich Edler 2000 as originally printed in We Need Not Walk Alone. Reproduced here by permission of the family. Permission to reprint this article in TCF chapter newsletters or other bereavement publications granted by the family but must include the following attribution: ©Rich Edler 2000. Permission to reprint granted by the family and by We Need Not Walk Alone, the national magazine of The Compassionate Friends.

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