They say we die twice — once when our bodies give out, and again the last time our name is spoken aloud.

My high school English teacher was the first womakimberly-farmer-287677.jpgn I had ever heard go by the title “Ms.”  I was a high school freshman in 1979, in a small mill town in southern Maine.  Ms. Sullivan was tall, angular, smart, independent, kind of cranky, and gave no f$&ks — I loved her.

I think we all giggled about the term “Ms.” when we were arrived from Junior High.  And here I am, all these years later, remembering and writing about her.  And yes, I said her name aloud as I wrote.

Several months ago I went searching for her contact information so I could thank her for being a thought leader to me. I’ve been a marching activist for 30 years, with her to thank.  I learned that she was active in the state teachers’ union, and that she did some community service related to her love of literature. I also learned another thing.

I was too late.

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I would love to have asked her the back story about her early adoption of “Ms.”

Who do you hold in high esteem?

A mentor? Grandparent? Chill and steady Uncle Bill, who taught you to parallel park? A moms night out “colleague” who has been listening, laughing, and struggling along beside you for the last 8 years?

Want a gift of honor to commemorate a loved one and their impact on you? I have just the thing!  Gather some folks to discuss a great photo that captures your feelings.  It might be the person, the school, that old Plymouth that . Uncle Bill taught you to park.  We’ll meet online to discuss it, and I’ll add your comments to a glossy keepsake photo print. Examples and details are HERE. 

Or spend time getting to know your elders with this FREE list of 5 prompts to help the conversation flow.  It’s a great way to bond, re-bond, or hold space for someone as they remember.  If you use the questions, I’d love to know how it goes!