We lost an exceptional person yesterday. Our brother-in-law, Ronald Copland embraced his failure to beat cancer with dignity and courage. Despite putting it in its place ten years ago, it came back with a ferocious vengeance this summer. You could hardly notice any change in Ronald’s demeanour as he walked the golf course with us in September. The only clue to his pain and literally inner battle was his abstaining from any golf swings. In the very end, he left us peacefully in his sleep as his systems slowly shut themselves off like someone turning out the lights one by one at the end of a lively and memorable evening.

  • Death is the great black bear that looms in everyone’s path. In my experience, believers and unbelievers face death with about equal equanimity or disquiet. I would guess it has more to do with temperament than belief…A self is dynamic, always changing, seeking, striving. And death? Personal mortality is the price we pay to exist at all as unique, complex, multicelled, sexually active, thoughtful individuals. Death is life’s necessary partner; together they are endlessly creative. A self is like a fruit on the tree of life. Without fruit the tree must die. Each of our selves leaves the world different than we found it. It is a unique characteristic of a human self to decide what makes the world a better place. The nudge we give to the good is our truest immortality.” – Chet Raymo, “That Cottage of Darkness

Ronald faced the failure of life with the same grace and poise that he faced thriving life every day. He gave so many a ‘nudge to the good’ to so many people. Including my own knee-boarding, boating, golf driving, fairway shooting, grilling, wine bargain-hunting, scotch appreciating self. Thanks Ronald.