I have lost some very good friends over the years. Dr. Kim Naugle was very special to me and I learned a great deal from him. While being confined to a wheelchair, he was one of the smartest and hardest working individuals I have ever met. I miss Tim Robertson. He, along with Dr. Larry C. Sexton, mentored me while on the Kentucky Board of Licensed Professional Counselors. I loved Tim’s laugh, his smile, and tenacity to shape the counseling field in Kentucky and beyond. Kim and Tim were two of my Board mentors.
I met Dr. Barry Stephens when he came to work at Lindsey Wilson College in 2007. He was a very caring individual who tried to focus on being a better person rather than getting caught up in the distractions of others. I was honored to be holding his hand when he breathed his last breath. HIs family requested that I help them remove pictures from his computer, which I did. I still have those files on my own computer.
Dr. Neresa Minatrea was another special person in my life. We presented together in several national, state and international conferences. We were good friends, even though she was a person that seemed to keep everyone at a distance. Soon after she died about 5 years ago, I received a Facebook request from an account listed as Neresa Minatrea. Obviously, it wasn’t my friend from the grave and it would have never been her while she lived because she was a very private person and would not share on social media. Yet, I just could not delete the request. To this day, I still have one friend request on my Facebook listing which I have never accepted…that of Neresa Minatrea.
So, why don’t I remove my past friends’ accounts or requests from my social media accounts? Why can’t I seem to remove Barry’s files from my computer? It is not that I am superstitious or anything. I guess it is simply because they had a profound impact on my life and I want to hold on to them and their wisdom still. Their legacies live on in others and that includes me and I want to be reminded that we all owe a great debt to those who have come before us.
My life mission is that the wonderful life lessons that these people gave me are transferred to others including my children, family, friends, students and clients. The legacies of my friends are even now being shared to others through my love and care of others. In this way, we all will live forever.