This has been the hardest eulogy for me to write. I cried almost every step of the way. I miss him greatly. I know we all do. His smile, sense of humor, warmth, wisdom and vision. We have lost a giant.
I am drawn to painting war because I fear it, I fear losing my life or living without freedom. My parents survived the gas chambers and pogroms in which their families perished. The infinite oscillation between victor and vanquished is as present in our world as it was 2000 years ago.
My mother was essentially a cheerful, optimistic person. When I was bored, sad or depressed, she would say: "Get yourself a project." So I decided my project would be to interview people about how they keep alive the memories of their loved ones.
"When the smack begins to flow, then I really don't care anymore" a man recites in front of a packed chapel in north London choking back the tears. This is not your ordinary Sunday afternoon church service. Instead it is a memorial for Lou Reed, held a week after the musician's death.
"This would be a very different world without Lou Reed. There are many people who feel a distinct need to say goodbye" says Pakula. "This is event is intended for anyone and everyone whose life has been touched by his music and poetry, be they old rock stars, young musicians or just ordinary folk."
We humans need our most annoying intimate relationships to scrub and polish the insides of our hearts to reveal the precious gems awaiting us there. Only our loves can help us scour away the most caked-on muck and shine up the jewels.
The more we opt to invest in a transparent discourse about subjects that may make us feel uncomfortable, the less likely that underreported crimes against humanity will be swept under the social and legal rugs of history.
I was just a tiny cog in the great wheel that was The Sopranos, just one of thousands who James Gandolfini treated with kindness and respect. There are few so great who remain so humble, who are able to grasp their own incredible abilities and still recognize them as a gift.
Mary Thom is many things. A founder of Ms., long-time Ms. executive editor, editor-in-chief of features for the Women's Media Center, lively author, devoted sister, aunt and great aunt, loyal friend. But she was also a committed, skillful, some might say incorrigible motorcycle driver.