In May of 2007 I attended the National Restorative Justice Conference in Kerrville Texas. I bounded into the first session, heading straight for the front row. Ready to meet the world and be at this conference. One of the first people I spoke to was Bert Thompson. He greeted me and we started chatting. He was genuine and real. He had a spark in his eyes and interest in learning about me. He appreciated my ‘farm girl’ sense of humor and conversation we greeted each other for the rest of the conference.
At one lunch, I mentioned taking my position at the non-profit, on a “we’ll see” or “interim” basis. I talked about how I fell in love with it and stayed. Bert told me the deaf have a sign for that. I looked at him, he put his finger in his cheek and gave a tug, like a fish on the line. We laughed and I agreed. I even used that one a few times myself.
Bert took my business card, he uses CardScan and every three months since the Conference, I get an email from the service. I click the box that there are no changes to my info. It brought Bert on my radar every three months. It made me feel like this Grandpa figure was checking on me. I always liked thinking about Bert.
At the end of the conference in May of 2007, I gave Bert a big hug assured him I’d see him at the next one.
Today I learned otherwise. It took me a minute. The conference is having a Bert Thompson Pioneer Award and I thought, how nice for Bert he deserves that, can’t wait to see him again. Then I opened the document “in memory of Bert Thompson”. What, wait, NO! I wept.
I found a few things, that really took me to tears. I think you should have a look. If we could each strive to be THIS kind of person what a place the world would be.
I don’t know why it hit me so hard, why so many tears. I checked my emails, two CardScan emails since he passed. Bert thanks for checking on me. I’m sad I won’t see you, and comforted to know your watching over me now. I’ll bring a candle to Texas and light it.
I’ve also got a candle for John Byrd, another 07 conference organizer. We also chatted at the conference, his opening remarks about the conference emerging from a training session on 9-11 spoke volumes to me.