Recently I lost a dear friend and colleague. He was gone in practically a blink of an eye, with little time for anything other than a forever-to-be-treasured text and a brief meeting for a quick kiss on the cheek and hug. My numbness and disbelief must surely be only a fraction of what his dear wife and children feel. Yet, I struggle in my own way, questioning and seeking answers. It is during these times of raw shock, that his beautiful face comes to my mind and then memories of laughter and good times somewhat numb the sadness.
He was a gentle giant of a human being, an angel in physician’s clothes, with a way as soft and gentle as a quiet rain. Though high up on the success ladder and loaded with responsibilities, you never saw him quiver. It did not matter where you were on the totem pole, he knew your spouse, where you lived, what you liked to do, even your favorite music. He had the gracious gift of being fully present in the now. Surely much of the time, his mind was busy with responsibility, but you never knew it. When you were with him, he made you feel like you were his best friend – and he had hundreds of best friends!
Besides all of his gifts to the medical world, his true gift to humanity was the gift of kindness, compassion, and deep humility to all that he met. He taught me many things, and I am a better person for having known him. My dream now is to honor him in taking the gifts he shared and offering them to those I meet. In this small way, he continues to live in the hearts of many, and when I take the time to simply stop the busy-ness and just be in the present, surely I will hear the gentle rustle of his soft wings.
May we all take a little more time each day to live in the now, flooding our hearts with kindness, compassion and humility, bringing peace to this planet. Peace to you my dear brother, Dr. Skinner.