In loving memory of Edd Conboy, who through the gift of reflection helped me see myself so that I may also see others.

I’m honored to bring you this special bite-sized reflection from my own E.P.I.C. Life as a bonus to Season Five. 

The show has been on a pause between seasons and will begin again in May, in time for Mother’s Day. Until then, I invite you to catch up on episodes that you’ve missed, including the Season Five finale with my mentor and former colleague, Leslie Medine. The finale was dedicated to Edd Conboy, a special person who was a coach to both of us and led us for years through a process called Adult Reflection.

Edd suffered from a stroke and passed away on March 20, 2020. In my conversation with Leslie, I committed to writing and recording a love letter to Edd and sharing it on the podcast. It was therapeutic to write the letter, share it with others from my Reflection Circle grieving Edd’s loss, and to record it for you.

Thank you for listening and witnessing. I hope learning about Edd’s impact will touch you and inspire you to think about someone in your life who you’d like to honor.

Dear Edd,

As I write this, I hope that you know how loved you are. How much you are missed. And how much you have made an everlasting impact on me and so many of us.

It’s hard to believe it has been a year since you died. You slipped into a coma, just as the world was slipping into what has felt like an alternate reality. In December, I interviewed Leslie for the podcast and held space for the ways that you impacted her.

In perfect synchronicity, before I released that episode, I found an email that you wrote at the same time of year, the winter solstice 15 years ago, on the darkest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. Your words reminded me that the light we so often seek, especially in our darkest days, resides within ourselves. Which was so fitting, because one of your greatest gifts was to create reflective space, get curious and ask a powerful, illuminating question that would help me, Leslie and so many others find our answers within.

As we reach this anniversary of your death, we are reemerging in many ways. We are also approaching another seasonal milestone, the spring equinox, which miraculously occurs this year today, on March 20th, the anniversary of your passing. Therefore, this moment that we remember and honor you, as I record this to bright sunshine and spring flowers blooming, is the moment that represents the balance of light, of new beginnings, a festival of awakening, and rebirth.

I’ve been wondering what messages you have for us Edd. What are you trying to tell us about darkness and light? About seasons? About the power of pause and reflection? About moving from darkness to light. And seeing again in new ways. 

These were the words you shared in that email at the winter solstice:

“For the last few months I have had the great good fortune to be surrounded by some extraordinary young people (some of them are on this list!).  

Gradually, they are infusing me with hope, and even a little faith.   Being with them has brought me to realize just how much I am dependent on them to make meaning of my life long after I am gone.  I am aware more keenly than ever that this moment I call a lifetime is all I have right now.  And that awareness is unimaginably liberating – a healing gift that lightens the load when I can stay in that awareness.   I hope within this expansive moment, we all have many more little moments to share, moments like glass beads for all of us to string together.”

I thought about these glass beads that you speak of…and realized they are a metaphor for what you created in our lifetime with you. You brought us clarity, you brought us connection, you instilled in us the realization that we can be and bring our fullest selves to one another, that we can love and be loved for who we are and who we are becoming. 

In your presence, I learned to hold tension, to examine thoughts and feelings, even when they’re uncomfortable, so that I could see and understand myself in new ways. With your coaching, I learned that when things feel the most overwhelming, it’s because I’m holding too much or trying to hold too much by myself, and that so much more is possible when I welcome others in. You helped us realize that alone we are but single glass beads, but that we can create something of beauty and value when we come together.

Edd, I wonder if your spirit is aware somehow of the legacy you have left us. If you know that you brought us together again, some of us who had not been in regular communication with one another for over a decade. After your passing, we met on zoom every first Sunday for the entire last year, a challenging year filled with wildfires, sheltering in place, racial reckonings, and one of the most historic elections of our lifetime. We acknowledged that we could not have made it through the year without one another and without your lessons.

The last time we gathered, we honored the anniversary of your passing. We imagined a virtual unveiling of your headstone and what words we each would inscribe on it. These are the words I shared and offer to you.

In loving memory of Edd Conboy, who through the gift of reflection helped me see myself so that I may also see others.

I am so grateful for the opportunity to have known you Edd, to have been coached by you, apprenticed by you, and known by you. Your legacy truly lives on in all of us.

Much appreciation,

P.S. Know someone who would love this conversation? Pay this forward to a friend who may be interested.