Editorial: He inspired us all

The world lost some of its richness on Saturday, when news of Bruce Conley’s passing made its way through our communities.

Whether directly or indirectly, anyone who lives or works in the area has been touched by his grace, his kindness and his caring.

He has been the calming voice to so many as they struggled through their darkest hours, and he has been the soft smile that spreads as the darkness begins to lift.

Just by his calm and quiet nature, he inspired anyone who was fortunate enough to come into contact with him. There were no routine conversations with him, as every interaction with him, in some way, made it clear just what it means to fully care about your fellow man, whether they be a stranger, a friend or a loved one. The fact was, strangers, friends and loved ones were all loved, were all cared about in a meaningful way that left its mark every time.

Every conversation, regardless of its content or nature, ended with a lingering feeling of brightness, a sense that you, as well as everyone else, truly matter.

He accomplished and “did” so much in his life, there is not enough room in this space, or truly any space, to recite it all. Yet, for many of us, the striking thing about Bruce Conley was not what he “did” but who he “was,” and who he continues to be in our memories and in the ways he continues to inspire us just by thinking of him.

There is no way to adequately capture the essence of a man who was so much to so many people for so long. Like was so often the case through the years, Bruce put it better than any of us ever could:

‘The Gift of Remembrance’
“It has been said that when someone dies, ‘that someone,’ becomes a memory, and ‘that memory’ becomes a treasure. What hasn’t been said is exactly how this all happens. Speaking now, as one hoping to help my own family claim this ‘gift of remembrance’ when the time comes for me, I realize there are no ‘short cuts,’ it’s all in the un-wrapping. Like the tiny chicks who must peck their way out of their own shell in order to have the strength to survive, each of us must un-wrap our own gifts, in order for mourning to turn those memories into treasures.”
—Bruce Conley,
caringbridge.org/visit/bruceconley