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The sun sets against silky, low clouds, behind a lone tree. This photo will become the cover of " In Memory of Tom "

In Memory of Tom – mentor and friend

A lifetime is not a long-time1. When I heard that Tom had gone to hospice, I knew that his spouse and he were consciously entering into the end of his life.

Tom, Friend

An old stone well shaft from directly above - in memory of Tom
The well of grief

Tom and I met many years ago through InterPlay. I joined the ranks of this organization and way of life mostly through the influence of its founder, Phil Porter. At the time, I was living in Oakland, California. Perhaps I met Tom at one of the International InterPlay Conferences there.

One of my vivid memories is of a contact dance workshop that he led at one of those conferences. This is where I also met Tony Hole (from Australia). Tony, Tom, and I did an improvised trio dance during that session which I remember particularly clearly.

Tom, Mentor

After that, Tom and I corresponded on email intermittently over many months. He was a poet. We both appreciated a few poets including David Whyte, so we’d share his poetry along with some of our own original poems.

Several times over the years, the two of us would go off for a cup of coffee or tea and chat about our lives. So much of his experience of life and relationships informed me in a very positive way. In fact, my life was transformed more than once because of something Tom instilled in me.

Memory

A heap of earth, broken branches, and rocks. "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust." In memory of Tom.
Ashes to ashes, dust to dust

I’ll be honest: I did not realize how much impact this human being had on my life until he was gone. I interacted with Tom for all of those years. I knew I cared about him and looked up to him. He seemed to reciprocate. But the sheer power of his life in mine was bigger than I had realized.

I’m grateful that I knew Tom while he was alive.


  1. I first heard this quote from Jeff Altman. He never claimed to be the originator of it, but I’ll give him credit for passing it along at least. ↩︎

2 thoughts on “In Memory of Tom – mentor and friend”

  1. So sad to lose a precious friend Stan, but as you expressed it was clearly a pleasure and privilege to know him, and for him to know you too. You will always have those joyful memories.

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