Tuesday, August 13, 2013


This summer we lost Chef Bruce Chandler: a colleague, a teacher, a friend, a mentor, a husband, a father, a man who filled any room he walked in with laughter and generosity.  I shared some of the lessons I've learned from working with him over the past many years in a blog post.  A colleague commented:  “You've said it beautifully here Shelley. There's only one thing missing...our beloved Chef.”

It’s the kind of missing that can’t be alleviated by phone calls, pictures posted on Facebook, a text message to say “I love you,” a postcard.  Bruce Springsteen’s post-9/11 song “Missing” captures this:  “You're missing when I close my eyes/ You're missing when I see the sun rise.”  The world goes on, our lives go on, “everything is everything” as Springsteen says, “But you’re missing.”

What I loved best about the 9/11 site when I visited this summer is that it symbolizes this missing.  They didn't replace the towers or fill in the holes.  They remain like the holes in hearts.

Nine years ago today my brother Marc died.  I realize now that the hole in my heart will always be there.  But like the 9/11 site, lush gardens and tall towers can grow around it, life will hurry and throb and continue at its edges, and the deep hole has a kind of beauty.  But he’s still missing.  Every day.

Yesterday a friend posted a link on Facebook to “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying.” It’s an unsurprising list: to have had the courage to be true to myself, not to have worked so hard, to have expressed my feelings, to have stayed in touch with friends, to have let myself be happier.  But I was thinking that the deeper regrets are with the living.  When someone is missing, you can’t go back, restart, have coffee one more time, laugh together.  And you live with the missing for your whole life.


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