The greatest gift.

What news to bring me again from my little blogging vacation.  Not that Dougy had the game of his life a few days ago.  Not that the Casino is in maj-ah trouble.  Not that Valerie Abati was given the ole’ it’s not you, it’s our ratings, so, yeah, it’s kind of you speech.

Randy Pausch died and I’m just flabbergasted at how fast the end came rushing up to him once it got close enough to see him.

I realize there are those that say that Randy Pausch is no different than anyone else that dies of pancreatic cancer, but I disagree.  He didn’t go quietly into the night.  He spoke out about it and the need for research.  He fought it publicly.  He tried to leave lessons not only for his young children, but also for us.  And the lessons were being learned the world wide, as friend Goob once informed me that he had been lucky enough to glance upon the incoming pile of mail and gifts that were pouring into CMU.  Gifts like cards from children, handmade blankets and quilts.

I didn’t give him anything.  But he’s given me a big giant box labeled “PERSPECTIVE” and it really is a wonderful thing to pry open and peek into when life gets weird.  And, you know, It’s the exact same gift that John Challis and Adam Frey gave me, but really, I don’t mind.

Some gifts, you can never have too many of.


  1. addie
    July 25, 2008 9:22 am

    This news was inevitable, as Randy himself said all along – yet it still fills me with sadness. His family will be in my thoughts.

  2. emstef23
    July 25, 2008 9:45 am

    I burst into tears when I heard the news…what a wonderful gift this man was to the world and what a tragic loss to not only his family but to all of us who were touched in some way by his words and actions. He was truly an angel on Earth and now in heaven. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends…

  3. BobM
    July 25, 2008 9:49 am

    Well said PittGirl.
    I’ve taken the liberty of linking your post on my blog entry.

  4. Thee Dude
    July 25, 2008 9:56 am

    It’s one thing to achieve greatness and do great things, but another to inspire others to do as well. Lord knows we need more like him.

  5. chrys
    July 25, 2008 9:59 am

    I cried when I heard this this morning. He was an inspiration to everyone. My heart goes out to his family and friends, especially his wife and 3 children.

  6. parking chair
    July 25, 2008 10:04 am

    Rest in peace, Randy. And thanks for reminding us of what we should all know but somehow always seem to take for granted.

  7. youngest of 5
    July 25, 2008 10:15 am

    I was checking to see if you would post on this today, very nicely said. I had held off tears until now. Enjoy the rest of your vacation with the sisters.

  8. Christina
    July 25, 2008 10:29 am

    I was shocked to hear about this today and so saddened. Rarely do I ever get so upset over a public figure dying, but when I read the articles about it and visited his webpage, my eyes just filled with tears.

    It’s not fair that someone as special as him had to die. It’s not fair that he has three little children who won’t get to grow up with a father who was so enthusiastic about life. It’s not fair that he and his wife’s obviously loving relationship had to end so soon.

    Though he definitely touched the world with his struggle and insight, there is a shortage of good people left in the world and it’s sad that he had to leave us so soon.

  9. CP
    July 25, 2008 11:09 am

    Jackie Robinson once said …

    A life is not important except in the impact it has on other lives.

    Randy will be missed … RIP

  10. Amy
    July 25, 2008 11:10 am

    I actually read the news on… which I think proves there isn’t anyone that hasn’t been touched by what he said and did. My thoughts are with his family.

  11. Julie
    July 25, 2008 12:35 pm

    Well put, PittGirl. As soon as I heard the news I immediately checked the blog to see if you had heard. Sad news like this puts so many other things into perspective…

  12. NoMansBabyMama
    July 25, 2008 12:45 pm

    God Bless Randy Pausch and his family. Thanks Randy for all you have given to all of us. Rest in Peace.

  13. Barb
    July 25, 2008 1:11 pm

    You are so right about perspective. Here I am today worrying all afternoon about stupid crap, then I read about his dying, and I’m given a much-needed reality check. What an amazing person. It’s so sad his kids won’t have more time with him, and the wife he so obviously adored. God bless them.

  14. Michelle
    July 25, 2008 1:15 pm

    Such sad news. Can you use your blogger superpowers to get the zoo to name the baby elephant born today after Prof. Pausch? Just a thought. Glad to know you heard the news — I had to drop by just to check. RIP, Prof. Pausch. You have inspired many and brought many a tear to many an eye, including mine.

  15. Thee Dude
    July 25, 2008 1:41 pm

    Okay, now I need to know…what did Valeri Abati do so awful on June 29th’s 11pm weather report. Of course, KDKA deleted it from their archives. I have never seen her in action, but why are they getting someone from the past? There has GOT to be some grad looking for a job instead of recycling one from Dallas. A friend of mine once called the Pittsburgh area “The Vortex”, like that of whirlpools and black holes, where people/old ideas can achieve escape velocity to break away while the rest get close but eventually get sucked back into the center.

  16. Mitch Cumstein
    July 25, 2008 2:26 pm

    I’m usually cynical and tend to feel like people’s impact and achievements get way overhyped when they die (i.e. Tim Russert), but I’ve come around on RP. And the one word you used summed it up perfectly – he offered many of us some perspective. And we could all use a little of that.

  17. CL
    July 25, 2008 2:57 pm

    Getting the chance to hear and see him speak at my graduation this past May is one of the highlights of my life, and I will forever use that moment as a reminder of how to live. I will never forget the feeling of being surrounded by thousands of my peers, cheering and crying simultaneously, as he took the stage. Rest in peace, Professor.

  18. Steeler_tom
    July 25, 2008 3:24 pm

    Why is that it is always a good person, a teen ager who has it all together (and we need more of them) or an innocent little kid who becomes afflicted with these terrible illness’? Thanks for the “perspective” It has grounded me.
    My heart goes out to Randy’s family…….

  19. Heidi
    July 25, 2008 5:11 pm

    I know we all knew this was going to happen, but when my husband called my cell phone this morning while I was at work to tell me, I stopped in my tracks. I kept up hope that his will to live would overpower those bastard cancer cells. His kids will get the gift of his lecture on video, his book in print, but it’s a heart-wrenching shame they won’t have HIM. Cancer can go to hell.

  20. Maria
    July 25, 2008 5:27 pm

    I have an unbelieveable amount of respect for Dr. Pausch. He truely was an amazing person. When I read this on the P-G website today I cried. It makes me so angry that cancer chooses the good people, people like Randy, John Challis, and Adam Frey. But it’s so inspiring that those men have taken something so negative all in stride. I’m spendind my Saturday volunteering at the Children’s Hospital, because after seeing how Randy brightened and inspired others while battling cancer I feel like I’m wasting my healthy body by not helping others. I only wish I could do more.

    Rest in peace, Randy. Your family is in my prayers.

  21. Dennis Roddy
    July 25, 2008 9:47 pm

    Cancer kills bad people, too. It’s just that we don’t feel so bad about it. That is as it should be, because what makes all of us pause on this day is less the fact that cancer killed a good man, than that a good man displayed the nature of his goodness to all of us. Randy Pausch deserves better than to be seen as a tragic figure. He was — and remains — an elevating figure, one who, to paraphrase Faulkner, did not merely persevere, but prevailed. Mortality is in the cards for all of us. Pausch understood wherein a bit of immortality, even in this very impermanent world, could be found. He earned it. Now let’s try to feel a little less bad for ourselves, and a little better for him. Yeats got it right:

    Amid a place of stone
    Be secret, and exult
    Because, of all things known
    That is most difficult.

  22. scottie
    July 26, 2008 7:58 am

    I agree with addie; even though this was inevitable and that we knew all along how it would end, it still is saddening. :( Maybe there was a part of me that thought “this guy’s strong…he’ll find a way to beat it.” Even though I knew it wasn’t possible. Dr. Pausch helped us to believe how much is truly possible. RIP

  23. Burgh Wanna Be
    July 26, 2008 6:10 pm

    May Randy be at peace and longer in pain. May the Lord be with family at this time and watch over them. I have lost several family members to this nasty disease and feel for them deeply.

    Donations can be made to the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, 2141 Rosecrans Ave., Suite 7000, El Segundo, CA 90245, or to Carnegie Mellon’s Randy Pausch Memorial Fund (, which supports the university’s continued work on the Alice project.

  24. snafu
    July 27, 2008 7:59 pm

    I urge everyone to read the inimitable Chad Hermann’s take on Dr. Pausch wherein he describes the courageous man’s speech with the following flourish … “a dying man’s self-absorbed cliche-fest of a lecture.” Chad is inimitable because nobody else can match his unique mix as a closet-case, racist, mysoginistic and insecure dick. Yet he pulls it all off with aplomb everyday! Looks like cancer got the wrong guy, as usual.

  25. Cullene
    July 28, 2008 8:04 am

    I had heard of Randy Pausch but didn’t follow along with his blog until you posted a link – many months ago. Once a week or so I would check it to see how he was doing and how he was spending his time with his wonderful wife and beautiful children. I just knew when it had been a month with no word that something bad was happening. But, I was still absolutely shocked and deeply saddened to hear the news that he had passed. My thoughts and prayers, like millions of others around the world, go out to his family. I hope they can take comfort in knowing that he touched millions of people and we mourn along with them. He was an inspiration and will never be forgotten.

  26. Schultz
    July 28, 2008 10:30 am

    The fact that Chad used the term “self absorbed” to describe Randy Pausch’s speech made me lose some respect for him. I have defended Chad in the past and I can live with his bashing of Obama day in an day out on his blog, but his rant about Pausch’s speech and the attention he got just proves the point of others who, after reading his blog, have told me “that guy is one self righteous asshole.”

  27. Sle
    July 28, 2008 1:27 pm

    My mother died after fighting Pancreatic Cancer for 51/2 months nine years ago.

    I am frankly offended by: “I realize there are those that say that Randy Pausch is no different than anyone else that dies of pancreatic cancer, but I disagree. He didn’t go quietly into the night. He spoke out about it and the need for research. He fought it publicly. He tried to leave lessons not only for his young children, but also for us.”

    Dr. Pauch also had a worldwide network. He also had the talent and access to international technology.

    My mother wrote us letters. She participated in research trials. She planned on beating the cancer and going on speaking tours.

    My mom was a single parent who raised her two daughters – one born just two weeks after my father died – on her own at a time when single parents were looked down. She worked odd jobs to be home with her kids. She put two girls to college. She had just started back to college herself and had started dating again for the first time in 21 years when she turned yellow.

    If she had the ability, she would have done what Dr. Pauch did. At least as much. Nine years ago.

    I am greatful for what he was able to do, but don’t for one minute think my mom wouldn’t have done the same.

  28. Kelli
    July 29, 2008 3:24 pm

    Sle, it sounds like you had a wonderful mom. I’m sorry I never met her, but I believe you were blessed to have her in your life.