The Last Time

10/20/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011

Nancy, my dearest wife of thirty years, died suddenly on August 8th. I discovered her at night when I returned from the airport, just two hours after our regular "it's on time, my love" call from Denver. She died without being able to say goodbye. In the dark forest of grieving, there are only brief shafts of light. Our wonderful children, a loving family, so many close and nurturing friends, all stepped in with love, support, patience, wisdom and the quiet presence you need when it feels as if your world just ended.

Nancy and I celebrated every day. We made our marriage a daily commitment. We had fun, grew wiser, struggled, laughed, collected, built, moved, nurtured, spat, loved and lost as all of us do. Her death startled her, I know, and it came unfairly. We both understood that we are not in charge, but we shared the hope that this was our time when we would finally have more time to play and ponder. If you want to hear God laugh, tell her your plans.

One of Nancy's favorite books was The Last Time. The book's simple premise was never more prescient or compelling than now. We never know when it's the last time...the last ride without training wheels, the last salute before boarding the plane, the last breathtaking sunrise, the last kiss in the morning as you part.

I "feel" Nancy editing me again, and she was my best editor in all things. It's important to take something from this terrifying loss: make every moment count. Do what really matters to you. Don't waste a second with the wrong person, dream, hopes, job, missed birthdays or lost, wasted hours.

You never know when that is the last time. Stay conscious and present in your life. Savor your days and moments. I remember both.

My partner, Bob Mintz, remembers Nancy in this excerpt from a pending Commentary, "Tougher Times, Better Questions."

"On the 8th of August, we quite unexpectedly lost one of our partners. Our President's ultimate partner, Nancy Foreman-Fransecky, experienced an aorta dissection - a lethal tear in the wall of the aorta -- that claimed her life in seconds. To know Nancy was to know someone who was elementally connected to the life force. An accomplished broadcast journalist, Nancy's intellect, insatiable curiosity, and relentless need to get to the essence of things was her gift to NBC and The Today Show years ago, a gift she shared with her two sons, a gift Roger benefited from each day her knew her, and it was this compelling ability to ask the right and toughest question that made her voice central to our work.

As psychologists, we each have a deep need to consult with each other to test our assumptions, check our biases, and to make sure we are seeing things as clearly as possible. On more occasions than I can name, Nancy would listen patiently to our ruminations and, in mere seconds, slice through all of the noise to get to the truly important questions. Repeatedly she would name the obvious truth that our closeness to the client/issue had missed. And she would do it in the most elegant way! Just as we could see the elephants in the rooms of our clients, she could see ours. And, like our clients, once named, we could decide what to do with them.

We never properly thanked Nancy for what she gave us, though I know she knew exactly what she was doing. She made us better at what we do, just as we hope to help our clients become better at what they do. She brought the world light, laughter, insight and honesty. I believe all of us at Apogee are motivated to try to do the very same thing. We will miss her beyond words. It is in her memory that we doubly commit ourselves to try to form that quality of partnership with each client with whom we have the privilege of working.

Times have never been tougher. Nancy would remind us that the times invite better questions. And just like Nancy, we savor the chance to have that dialogue."

Terrible loss and unwelcome change punches us and makes us find ourselves again. T.S. Eliot wrote: "What we call the beginning is often the end. To make an end is to make a beginning. The end is where we start from."