Dean Clough

September 30, 2022

Portico Darwin: October 2 and Gratitude

Today's post is different.  

First and foremost, that is because I leave tomorrow for Boulder to attend a memorial for Scott Edwards, to be held this Sunday, October 2.  There will be no post on Monday for that reason. 

A coincidence, but October 2 has taken on some significance for me in recent years.

On October 2, 2019, I left TEECOM. 

On October 2, 2020, I was informed I would not be hired by The Presidio Trust, essentially beginning my retirement.

On October 2, 2021, I decided - once and for all - to stop grinding on TEECOM and the circumstances leading to my departure.

And now, on October 2, 2022, there's a memorial for someone that had a huge impact on my entire adult life.  Scott Edwards had a heart attack and died.  He was in his early 60s.   

So this time of year has become one of reflection, and with Scott's passing exactly one month ago today, now more than ever.  

It is with that sentiment that I share this, likely my last story regarding my recent vacation.  It's not my usual blather.

Because I made a fool of myself in The Dolomites.  But I am far better for it.  And, no, it's not what you think. 

As I've mentioned once or twice, we were just at my favorite hotel, in my favorite place, for 7 nights.  During the stay, I came to realize just how absolutely, positively lucky and fortunate I am.

But it wasn't the quality of The Adler Mountain Lodge, or its surroundings, that did it.  

One morning, late in the breakfast service, I was astounded to see a woman, likely in her 30s, sitting by herself at a table, for an extended period, looking directly away from the windows and their other-worldly views. 

I thought it so odd that I made fun of her to Julie, something like "You should have seen the woman seated by herself facing in the wrong direction - who would do that?!"

Worse, later that same day, I cracked to the maître d'hôtel, "Hey - what was up with that woman not looking out the window at breakfast??"

Luckily, he shrugged me off.  Looking back now, I can only hope he didn't understand my English.

Because, in fact, the woman in question has a fairly serious intellectual disability.  This became obvious when I saw her next, later that night, dining with her parents.  Who obviously love and care for her, and always have.

Each time I saw her (I never learned her name) afterwards, I thought both of this gentle soul, but also of her parents, who must carry quite a burden.  Every single day:  yesterday, today, tomorrow.  A burden few - if any of us - have to, or ever will, bear.  They were never more than a few feet away from their daughter - which I failed to notice that first morning.  They had to be.

Seeing them, in that place, doing what they were doing, made a very powerful impression on me.  

Indeed, I made a promise to myself right then and there to stop feeling sorry for myself - about my career perhaps ending prematurely, about this or that job that I haven't gotten since, and about all of the other useless thoughts I have on repeat in my mind.  

Instead, I am committed to gratitude.  It begins with Julie, goes on to my amazing friends and family, and continues with all of the truly spectacular professional and personal experiences I've had - and am still having.  

As we waited to depart The Adler, I snapped this picture, so I would not forget this lovely person, her parents, nor the gratitude I wish to make a habit.  They are to the left, and she is on the right, in this photo.   
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Thank you to any one that is reading this newsletter.  I'll be back on Wednesday.