I am already down and depressed, and for reasons too long to explain, my thoughts have turned to someone who has been gone for 2.5 years.
He was a professor at my college. I first encountered him in a required core course I took in my second year. I took him because his class fit my schedule and my best friend highly recommended him. It made no difference to me, as I had to take it from someone sometime.
Oh, if only I'd known what a profound influence he would have on my life, how he would shape me and mold me and believe in me; how much more I could have learned, how much more I could have done.
Instead, I was a typical college student, eager to do well, but less eager to expend too much effort in a course outside my field of interest, caught up in my own life and petty problems.
And still . . . he saw something. He was teacher, but he was also more to me. Mentor, friend, father. I do not know that I was special among his many students who could say similar things, except maybe in being female. I cannot claim that I was in the same place as others, but I know I was in a special place - I loved him and he loved me. He did so much for me as a student, as an intelligent person and as a person.
I wish I could express more about who he was and what he meant to me, share the outrageous stories about him. I miss him intensely at this moment, though I can hear his unique, precise voice in my head even now. Instead, I will post two things (which will be quite long, but which ought to be preserved). To break it up, I will do so in two additional posts.
He was an amazing man, and much like the Glorious Woman in CS Lewis' The Great Divorce, who had no children, yet every child she met she loved as her own - RML left behind him a large legacy of love that will impact this earth for years.
And from that comes our boy's name: Gabriel Ross.
Ross would not have liked us to name our child for him, though he'd be honored to be thought of. And the name Ross wasn't appropriate. But Gabriel - the messanger angel of light and hope, is. That is what Ross was. And so, we hope to have a child to name for him, for his love and his hope.
You are well-loved, Professor and greatly missed.