It was a powerful service for the mother of our beloved Madison. I was prepared for a couple of the truths that I knew that I would face:
- Feeling the pain that Madison is going through - and reminded of similar pains that others have had in recent days.
- The strong parenting urge I felt - that I must be there for my children.
- The reminder that life is brief - that we all are subject to a certain fate.
I wasn't prepared to see and hear the UAB Choir - that took me by surprise.
I have seen members of the choir since our last moments together, but today was the first time that I saw you as a group and I wasn't ready for it. I didn't realize that I would get so caught up in the strong emotions that I felt throughout the service - it was all there - empathy and love for Madi, a feeling of mortality, fatherhood.
And then I experienced the overwhelming specialness of the people I was fortunate to conduct and teach and mentor and love for a certain number of years. There is a special feeling that comes from leading such a unique group of people - when you are gathered together there is a very present and invisible force that I felt very strongly.
As time has passed since our last time together, I have received numerous confirmations that I made the right decision to leave UAB . . . it was the right time and I am in the place I need to be.
But as you sang today, I experienced one very clear and consuming truth: that it was a privilege to have been a part of your lives - especially as your leader - for a brief time.
Thank you for the time that we spent together - both today and for the last few years.
I miss you, and I love you very much.