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We were driving from NJ to Mass to pick up our oldest son from camp. He was attending a computer camp at Smith College which is put together by IDTech Camps. My friend sent me an email asking if I had heard that Randy Pausch had passed away. It was with tears in my eyes that I read the article. A few months ago, another friend had sent me a link to his reprised “last lecture” from Oprah’s show. Listening to that 10 or 15 minute lecture brought tears to my eyes. Gosh, this man, a couple years older than Tom and I, with three little children, was dying from pancreatic cancer and put together a lecture that makes anyone stop complaining about their life and start thinking about how lucky they are and what a blessing each and every day is because you get to spend it with the people around you. I did some poking around online and started reading this professor’s blog. It was truly inspirational how this man who literally had months to live rose above his own self loathing to be an advocate for research on the disease that was killing him and an inspiration for so many people. I only could hope that I have half that amount of strength and selflessness if I were in a similar situation. Tom bought his book, “The Last Lecture” for me and I am starting to read it. I am sure that it will be with a box of Kleenex by my side. An interesting behind the scenes with the WSJ writer who co-wrote the book is here.
I highly recommend listening to the entire lecture (approximately 75 minutes long) which is located online and linked to at the following page which is the article posted by Carnegie Mellon regarding his death. http://www.cmu.edu/homepage/beyond/2008/summer/an-enduring-legacy.shtml
For anyone who is interested, the blog which was taken over during his last days by a friend, is a true testament to the power of the human spirit. My heartfelt condolences to his wife and his three young children. May those children one day understand how truly selfless and inspirational their father was when others would have already fallen apart by the despair of their lot in life. I truly believe that his life expectancy (which exceeded his doctor’s expectations) was linked to his optimism.