A friend, Julia Pistell, wrote this reflection on Greg Tate, a special person who died of cancer just the other day.
But I feel tremendously sad today. This loss to Hartford, to the community, seems unbearable. And it is because he is a person who lived how I want to live: broadly. Wielding love in one hand and justice in the other. Doing what you believe to be right and being generous at the same time.
She captures so well how it felt to be a peripheral figure in someone's life, a supporting cast member, that I don't feel the need to say much more. I just wanted to capture a thought I had at the end of the benefit event Julia describes. It was an outpouring of love and appreciation for this one person, and it was striking in the sincerity and joy that was expressed.
After we left the auditorium, and before we went home, I wanted to say goodbye to Tate. I walked over and interrupted a conversation he was having. I gave him a big hug and told him what I realized. This wasn't just a benefit for him, it was a benefit for all of us. Tate, through his largeness of spirit and passion for what he believed, managed to connect so many other people. And it was a precious gift to have the opportunity to share that with each other, in such a direct and meaningful way. Sometimes such opportunities only exist because of tests and crises in our lives, and Tate gave us that gift.
I didn't know him for very long, or know him very well, but I see his effect on my own life, just in the web of relationships that I find myself in, here in Hartford. It's an amazing legacy, and it's hard to think of a better one that any of us could leave behind when it's our turn to fly the coop.