Sunday, June 17, 2012

Farewell, Mr. Sheehan

My high school Russian teacher, John Sheehan, has just passed after a long bout with cancer. This comes shortly after my dad, Jim Lloyd, also succumbed to cancer. I'd like to share what I wrote to him not long before he passed.
Ivan, I'm sorry it's taken me a few days to respond to your message. Thank you for sharing with all of us who were influenced by you, and care about you, about the next steps you'll tread.
As usual, it was done without preamble or prevarication, things I always appreciated about your personal, inimitable, style.
I guess my hesitation was due in part because your situation so closely parallels what's already been going on in my life. My dad has been on home hospice care for more than a year now fighting prostate cancer.
His brave battle has ended now. He died a little while ago.
Aside from my father, you are probably the man who has played the biggest role in shaping me into the person I have become.
I saw my dad last month when I was down in Florida, and we said our good-byes. I guess I expected him to hold out a little longer, but time is the one thing none of us can master.
I am hoping, and hopeful, that you will have much more time left with all of us. But I want to take a moment to express to you, before you go, what a good and noble way you spent your time on this stretch of existence (however your beliefs regard that span, whether transitory or finite).
I should hope that you already know this, but the world was a much better place for having you in it. I thank you for guiding and teaching me.
It would probably be best if I signed with my Cyrillic name; but you'll have to forgive me -- my Russian has almost completely departed me. These were the least of the lessons you taught me.
With respect and love,
Chris Lloyd

1 comment:

  1. Very nice, Chris. As a fellow student of Mr Sheehan's, I can relate. There is a great Facebook group that has been started, containing all his former students. Let me know if you'd like to join... it has brought back lots of memories from his class and Russian Club. So sorry for your losses.