Saturday, February 4, 2017

In Memory of Adam and Shannon

Adam and Shannon with their son Felix
Adam and Shannon and other friends with Brian and Martia at their wedding, August 2013
It's now been one week since our family attended the memorial service for Adam Clausen and his wife Shannon O'Leary. Adam and Shannon were killed the day after Christmas traveling back to Portland after visiting family in Bend. They were rear-ended and pushed into oncoming traffic. The driver of that vehicle was also killed. Shannon and Adam's four year old son, Felix, survived.

For more on this accident and the initial outpouring of shock and grief, please go here: Included are an interview with our oldest son, Brian Murray, who was dear friends with Adam and Shannon for many years. Brian and Adam first met in 2001 in graduate school at the University of Oregon where they were housemates for several years and remained very close since that time. I remember Adam best from those U of O years and the many day and overnight trips I made to Eugene with Brian's younger brothers, who looked up to Adam and all the guys there as role models and just great guys. I also remember the loving presence of Adam and Shannon at Brian and Marita's wedding. So many memories. They were both such bright lights.

The service at Lewis and Clark College, where both Shannon and Adam were physics professors, touched everyone's hearts more deeply than words can adequately articulate. There was a flood of tears and grief and also gratitude. Over and over again voices spoke of how both Shannon and Adam had touched their lives... deeply. There were threads which woven together created a mosaic of two beautiful souls and the lasting ripples of kindness, inspiration, courage, caring, empathy, joy, and love that they each lived and shared generously with all who knew them. This beauty and generosity lives on through those whose lives were touched by knowing Adam Clausen and Shannon O'Leary.

I walked away from this memorial service with so much. I continue to join my son and his wife and the families and friends of Shannon and Adam in grief and sorrow. I also hold close to my heart words spoken of how important it is to not wait to tell those we admire, love, and cherish that they are awesome. And I have integrated even more deeply how the ripples we send out into the world matter. 

Adam and Shannon live on in all those who are inspired to grow more deeply into who they are and what we all are capable of. They live on through the ripples they embodied of generosity, kindness, courage, perseverance, empathy, humor, joy, encouragement, compassion, and love. What was illuminated again and again is how Shannon and Adam were two beautiful human beings who made a real and lasting difference.

There are gifts to be found in the deeply painful experiences that we all have in life which break our hearts wide open. Gifts of increased gratitude for those we love and the awareness of the preciousness of life. Gifts of growing mindfulness of the ripples we each create and send out into the world and how much those ripples matter. And there are the questions that arise - such as how it is that we each would like to be remembered? And did I become who I really am? These heartbreaking experiences always hold the potential of deepening our hearts and growing us more into the wholeness of who we truly are. 

Adam and Shannon radiated kindness, generosity, and love that can inspire us all to reach even higher to our full potential as loving and conscious human beings. I bow to them both for the gifts of their lives and the legacy that remains.

With love and a deep bow to two extraordinary people ~



For a Go Fund Me Site for Felix, please go here:

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