On Saturday, I attended the joint memorial service in Columbia, MD for Charlie and Edie Seashore. Spending about three hours with hundreds of my colleagues and others who admired, loved, and learned from Charlie and Edie, I could not help wondering what Charlie would say about all the tears and tributes. Along with many other questions, I wish I could ask him.
With both Charlie and Edie Seashore gone from this earth, it feels a little lonelier and less rich, like one door to unlimited potential has blown shut. But I think Charlie, and especially Edie, would encourage me to feel the pain: It reminds me of a life fully lived, and that for a while I was privileged to live in the company of greatness. Charlie was my teacher, my personal coach, my mentor, and my counselor. Both Charlie and Edie were my friends.
I am especially lucky because I was part of honoring Charlie while he was alive. Working with my co-editor Joyce Langenegger, we compiled stories from numerous Charlie fans, mostly from our colleagues at Fielding Graduate University. These vignettes of meaningful encounters with Charlie’s wisdom became a little book What Would Charlie Say? A Tribute to the Wisdom of Charlie Seashore (2011).
In our forward, we wrote:
“…one of the most important elements is what Charlie does before he says anything. He listens, really listens, to what the speaker says, and even more important, he listens to what the speaker doesn’t say. His questions will probe deep into the gap between the spoken and unspoken words. How does he listen? Seemingly with his whole being. He sets himself up to be fully present in the moment and remains so.
…Even without his snappy phraseology, many of us will never forget his commitment to our work and to our development into better scholars, better human beings. Assembling Charlie’s witticisms into this compilation is meant to demonstrate that we too have been listening. Whether Charlie meant what we heard, only he knows.”
In addition to honoring Charlie, our intention was to help ourselves get through yet-to-come challenging times by remembering what Charlie did and what Charlie said. Since this is such a time, I want to add a post-script. After Charlie had a chance to compose himself after we presented him with this little tribute, he wrote this my book:
“There are no words to express the joy that this brings me in this season of my career. It sits on top of the many opportunities we have had to explore the intersection of personal and professional development, LLL (Lots and lots of love), Charlie”
I have no doubt that Charlie loved us and loved his work with us to his last breath. And this time, I am certain that I what I heard was what Charlie meant.
With all the first printing copies of What Would Charlie Say? distributed, the Seashore estate is considering another printing. There was also some talk of a companion edition, What Would Edie Say? As further details become available, I will post them here.