My Dad, Dr. Lloyd I. Watkins, died on March 1, 2012. I wrote an earlier post on his rather remarkable life. Since Dad passed away, my brothers and I have gotten through the funeral and are dealing with the loss. Even though Dad was 83 years old and we knew this was coming, it is still a challenge.
One of the things that has been really gratifying is learning how little things Dad did really helped others. A professor wrote us a note about how Dad had offered an encouraging word at just the right time when his career was not going as desired. A colleague of my brother Bob wrote that she was a recipient of a scholarship that my Dad had been instrumental in starting at Illinois State University. The recently retired ISU Chief of Police wrote about how Dad had hired him, encouraged him to professionalize the ISU police, and how more than twenty years later had congratulated him for doing an outstanding job. There were others, and if Dad had not outlived so many of his contemporaries, would have been more.
What these messages brought home to me is how small acts can mean so much to other people. A word of encouragement or a word of thanks at just the right time can really make a difference. I'm going to try to live up to Dad's example.