Celebrating the life of a friend

Yesterday was the celebration of Ilene Rockman’s life. (See here and here for background, including a growing number of personal tributes from those who knew her.)

It was a wonderful event. I learned much more than I’d known about just how special (and impressive!) Ilene really was, to an astonishing range of people. I’m guessing that 150 people were there, maybe more, but she touched thousands of lives for the better.

I’ve been thinking the kind of semi-deep personal thoughts that the holiday season causes in some of us, including the issue of how people interpret the Universal Ethical Guideline, that is, treat other people as you would have them treat you.

There are those who turn this into “Get other people before they can get you.” That’s just sad.

A little less sad and a lot more common (and I’ve been guilty myself) is “Treat other people as they have treated you.”

The best, I believe, must be one of Ilene’s possibly-unstated rules to live by: “Treat other people better than you’d expect them to treat you, and at least as well as you could hope for them to treat you.” She did. It’s a guideline for more of us to aspire to.

I’ll never aspire to Dr. Ilene Rockman’s energy, expertise, or graciousness. I can try to aspire to her ethical standards, but it’s not easy. It was an honor to know her.

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