Friends and family gathered to remember a wonderful woman yesterday, Linda Haas, who died at 68 after a long battle with cancer. As many stood up to share stories of her, I realized how much I had missed out in not knowing her longer. But whenever I did see Linda she picked up where we’d left off in our last conversation—even if six months had gone by. Her warmth was so characteristic of how much she cared about, and was interested in people. Numerous examples of this were shared by those gathered in the church yesterday, along with funny stories, and tales of her kindness and generosity.

Linda’s death is a loss to everyone who knew her. The service followed the tragic and horrific incident in Connecticut where someone murdered—slaughtered—young children, teachers and the elementary school’s principal. Many of the adults died protecting the children. No explanation of how or why this happened will ever be sufficient.

Senseless loss, from cancer, from murder, is impossible to reconcile. I hope others, experts in their fields, will discover a cure for cancer, and find a way to end the escalating violence from guns (whose only purpose is to inflict the maximum amount of damage quickly), at the hands of unstable people. The one thing I know, from my father’s death at 58, and Cherisse’s loss of both father and sister, is that we may miss the people terribly, but they never leave us entirely. My father is with me still. For a long time after he died, when faced with a work problem I would step back and ask myself: “what would my father do?” I still encounter people who share stories of him, and in the telling I see him clearly in my mind’s eye. Linda will remain very much alive in the memories and hearts of her friends. I hope those devastated by the tragedy in Connecticut will have that same solace.

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