A few days ago, I learned that a friend and colleague had suffered a massive heart attack. There was hope that he would pull through, but four days after his heart attack, he passed away.
He was 50.
His death was shocking to me because he seemed larger than life. He lived his life fighting with his whole soul for causes he believed. He didn’t believe in equivocation on important social issues, which means that he pissed a lot of people off, myself included.
However, he truly lived his values, meaning that after he started to yoga, he traveled to India in order to fully experience yoga in its birthplace. Because he believed in women’s rights, when a well-known yoga practitioner was accused by a number of women for sexual harassment, he full-heartedly condemned the actions of this man.
He fought hard to bring yoga and mindfulness to the students he taught, believing (rightfully) that it would be an invaluable tool for his students as they move through life.
Most recently, over his two week break from school, he traveled to Standing Rock as part of the fight to protect their water.
I knew him through my work in my union. If he felt union leaders weren’t living up to true union values, he had no problem calling them out. Like I said, he was known to piss people off. He wasn’t afraid of making “necessary trouble” because I think he had an absolute belief that we could and should do better by each other.
There is a void of what is right and good with his death.
He will be missed by so many.
Rest in Power Tommy.