Recently, a beloved member of the Buffalo running community passed away unexpectedly. Thomas Donnelly was a genuine leader, filling the role of President of WNY's largest running club, Checkers AC, as well as acting as Race Director for the Buffalo Marathon and the annual Turkey Trot race at the time of his death. He had an incredible energy and touched many lives with his enthusiasm.
Listening to the praise that is all around me given to him, for the moments in his life, great and small, I feel surrounded by a chorus of beautiful grief. I feel fortunate to be able to raise a glass and a voice in such a number as this-- people who have together admired a great leader, who share an appreciation for the beauty of small moments shared with a single life that, like a wine glass that slips out of a hand at a party, spilled itself out unexpectedly.
Tom is not yet gone, as we all will be one day. So
much of who we are even while we are living is contained in the people
who know us and love us. We do not exist within the confines of our own
bodies. Babies who are not nurtured with frequent touch die. We are born
into bodies that seek connection with other people. It is the nature of
our spirits to spread out, to exist primarily in the connections that
we intuitively forge with other receptive souls. We are mostly spirit.
So it makes sense that when we pass on, only the part of us that existed
in that body goes. The part that was alive in other people lives on as
long as they do.