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Dear Carol...

Dear Carol,

If you're really lucky, sometimes a person comes into your life that
changes your horizons, stretches the comfort zone and backs you 100
percent of the way. You did this for me both professionally and as my

I like to think I helped make your job easier, even though you made mine
harder by offering more challenges you knew I wouldn't refuse. I
couldn't let you down. You even got me when Father Will called and asked
me to talk about you at your funeral. It was an honor to represent your
work, however inadequately, but now I have more space and I want to talk
to you as my friend.

I'll miss the empathy of a fellow animal lover and sharing stories about
Reece, Lucy and Murphy. (Reece's toenail in the nostril continues to
give me the willies.) Or talking about photography, the spirit of the
northern woods and our love of the lakes. And sharing the difficult
times in life...an ill parent, a hard decision at work.

I'll miss bouncing ideas with you and making it up as we go along...and
always with our "save-the-lakes" optimism. I'll miss that connection
that allowed us our mile-a-minute conversations and finishing each
other's sentences. Or just being able to say volumes in two words: "Nice
Pranas." (Or Roger, Orlando, Wendy, Suzanne, Dave, Virgil...the list
goes on.) You enjoyed this network of friends so much.

And I won't forget the number of times people saw (and heard) us in your
office laughing and would "tsk, tsk" at us: "Don't you two ever work?"
But that was the WAY we worked. I always felt sorry for the people who
don't have that in their jobs. Laughter helps get you by the rough spots
and the pain--something you knew way too much about.

But your illness must have focused you. You always said it made you feel
you just didn't have time to deal with the bullshit. So sometimes you'd
zing us, and we'd sulk and commiserate a bit. But most of the time you
were right, so it made it okay in the end.

I appreciate how you focused on the big picture, not just with our
projects, but with the people who worked for you. You didn't care if we
went for a walk, or got together to talk. You knew that creativity and
camaraderie did more to build GLIN than having our butts plastered in
our office chairs, staring at a computer screen.

Carol, I missed you when you were in Sweden last year for just a month.
Some of the joy was gone even then. I can't even begin to think of the
permanence of your absence now. I'd like to think you're out there
somewhere, continuing to guide us. Since your death, so many people have
commented on how you saw something in them and gave them the chance to
succeed. So I guess it's time we learn to trust ourselves.

Is this your final lesson?