Farewell teacher and friend.

Floral Tribute, Q. Cassetti, 2012, Adobe Illustrator CS5And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.
Abraham Lincoln

Radio silence. A whole week of radio silence…and I apologize.

I have been trying to sort our where the chaos has come from and why I cannot find the glimmers of interest in all the wonderful things out there. Its been like a stall with loads of work but no zing to connect with you and my world. I guess it is because of a text Alex Cassetti got.

Last Friday afternoon, Alex got a text from a friend saying that his dad had died of a heart attack. Alex came home stunned, silent, shocked. He was wooden and worried. Alex told me about this important man’s passing..and we both shook our heads and wiped our eyes in amazement and shock. We worried about the family and most particularly my Alex’s friend Alec.  What to do? How to respond? Give the family space or dole out hugs. Alex opted for hugs. He also suggested that he should pay a visit and take some candy (which he did after we went to the store and filled a huge shopping bag with corn syrup in every shape and unnatural color imaginable). How could he show he cared about this wonderful man

This man, Paul Bartishevich (1956-2012) was a vital member of the school community, particularly sports where we got to know him. He was an inspiration to me to be a better parent, to love each other,to build community whether it was a larger community or just cooking breakfast for a team his child was in. 

Paul taught me to be a coach and advocate for everyone—impressing on what is good, what is valid, what is right while quietly pointing up what could use some work in a friendly, collaborative way. He had amazing energy, a force to be reckoned with—blended with a sharp wit and intelligence, humor and laughter. It was always a party to be with Paul as he was such mensch— bringing you into his circle with stories of his family, his wife, his extended family from events to the traditional games of football (referred to as BartBall) on Thanksgiving. Paul exuded enthusiasm, and happiness—living in the moment and making me want to be swept into the current he was making in this little pool we call home.

I haven’t been able to stop thinking about this loss to Alec and his family. The vortex of silence….the sudden whoosh and then life changes. The why now? the why? and the hole that will be in the fabric of his wonderful family he loved so much. And so many more holes left in different groups who had anticipated their moment in the Paul sunshine.  

But, his light still shines in all of us. You can palpably feel it. And in his children, you can see that flame, the energy and spirit of this man. Hopefully, I learned from Paul, to reach out, spread the love, and live in the moment we are granted every day. And know, that time is to be cherished. It slips away and is gone….sometimes before you even know it.

Blessings on Paul and the gifts he so generously shared. He will be missed but will live on through the carefully planted seeds he gave to each of us.

Farewell teacher and friend.

IthacaJournal.com’s Obituary>>