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Oceanside CA 92058
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Remembering Ed Richards

Ed Richards (not his real last name) was a professor at a community college where I taught part time years ago. Very bright. Unconventional, yes, but very bright. I knew him as an outstanding teacher. The administration may have had thoughts about his being unconventional, but his students loved him and learned from him.

Ed was a strong, disciplined man in his early 40's. A former US Marine captain who served in Vietnam, he knew something about leadership and taking care of his people.

He was a most creative man. Sometimes when our office hours between classes coincided and neither of us had a student waiting, I leaned against the door jam between our offices and we'd talk. Ed would have his feet up on the desk, arms behind his head from where he would sling one great idea after another, spinning off into space. They whizzed past my head making me think, that's a really good idea … or insight … or why AREN'T we doing that?

On some occasions, I asked Ed, "Why don't you write any of these ideas down?" But he didn't see any point to it since he never ran out of them and there was always another great insight right behind the last one. Zing, there goes another.

One day at the end of the spring semester, Ed corrected all his final exams, turned in his grades, gave away some of the paintings and art in his office, picked up some dry cleaning without dropping any more off, and went home. Later, someone called his home and got the answer machine message he left saying, "I don't know who you are who's calling me. And I'm sorry you had to be the one to find out. But you need to call the coroner's office because there has been a suicide here. By the time anyone hears this message, I will be dead."

We were told Ed left a note explaining that he wasn't sad, he wasn't angry or sick. He just felt … done, completed. He didn't think he had anything left to give and no one would need him again. There was nothing new waiting for him but repetition of what he had already done and he didn't see the point of it.

He felt that at his age, he had accomplished whatever he came to life to do. Ed felt un-needed, or he would still be here. Ed lost sight of the horizon and beyond, becoming permanently lodged in the one moment when he died - and in the memories of those who knew him.

The question is, who is the Ed Richards in your life who doesn't feel needed and has lost sight of the future? And what are you going to do about it?

Steve Stewart Seminars | 276 N. El Camino Real #184 | Oceanside CA 92058 | 760-298-8146/Direct 760-216-1353/Cell | www.Steve-Stewart.com/ChooseLife