I wrote about Randy Pausch last week, but at that time I didn’t know the specifics about his death. I just knew he was a Unitarian Universalist. UUs are all about making THIS life THE life. Doing what needs to be done to make the world a better place – because living is about contributing, not about being saved in a future life (heaven?). That was Dr. Pausch.
May we all be as joyful and skillful as he was at contributing. He sets a high bar.
Evidently he died with the same grace he with which lived. And with his sense of humor intact. From the NYTimes:
It probably comes as no surprise that the final words uttered by Dr. Pausch before his death last Friday from pancreatic cancer reflected the same humor and good nature that made him an Internet celebrity.
Last night, ABC aired a tribute to Dr. Pausch, replaying a Diane Sawyer special about his life and experiences that first aired in the spring. The segment also included new interviews with his close friend Steve Seabolt, who was with Randy during his final moments and noted that his “trademark wit and intellect were intact.’’
Mr. Seabolt only shared a few moments with viewers, noting that even near death, Dr. Pausch’s sense of humor remained. He said Dr. Pausch talked about how glad he was that he was home and his family and friend were close, and laughed, saying, “I just feel so bad about the dying part.”
Mr. Seabolt also relayed a conversation he had with Dr. Pausch’s 6-year-old son, Dylan. They were talking about cancer and he told the boy that “some problems can’t be solved, or they can’t be solved yet.’’
Dylan responded, “My daddy has taught me that every problem can be solved, and that I should believe that every problem can be solved, and that I’m strong enough and smart enough that I should never let a problem get in my way.”
At the end, as Dr. Pausch’s body was clearly failing, Mr. Seabolt said he told his friend, “It’s important for you to feel like you can let go. It’s okay.”
Dr. Pausch’s reply: “I’ll get back to you on that.’’
And those, according to Mr. Seabolt, were the final words of Randy Pausch.
Poking around a little more I came upon this further piece of wisdom from Pausch’s UU minister in Pittsburgh, quoted in an article by his book collaborator, Jeffrey Zaslow:
Early on, he had vowed to do the logistical things necessary to ease his family’s path into a life without him. His minister helped him think beyond estate planning and funeral arrangements. “You have life insurance, right?” the minister asked.
“Yes, it’s all in place,” Randy told him.
“Well, you also need emotional insurance,” the minister explained. The premiums for that insurance would be paid for with Randy’s time, not his money. The minister suggested that Randy spend hours making videotapes of himself with the kids. Years from now, they will be able to see how easily they touched each other and laughed together.
And he did just that.