A year ago today my husband, Michael Gollin, was preparing to leave this life. He used his remaining visual strength to say goodbye via letter board to all of us who loved him. He joked and communed with his family, enjoying us as we enjoyed him. He instructed us to water the plants and feed the birds . . . and then he was gone.
This year I’ve come to appreciate that Michael was and is larger than life. Not in the Paul-Bunyan-and-Babe sense, or with the outsized personality of a celebrity, but larger in his sheer reach.
In life, his friendships transcended time. Michael stayed happily close to his friend-since-birth Judy Harway and felt joy at seeing his friend-since-middle-age Dick Morris–and many friends from the intervening years. Since his passing, friends like Judy and Maura Harway, Barry Temkin, David Thaler, Mike Polacek and Mike Lyon have touched base, sharing their memories of Michael. We all speculate about his whereabouts, but we know he’s carrying on in our minds. He influences our decisions, urges us to be our best selves, and makes us laugh.
His ideas, too, reached a larger audience than the average person’s. From his thoughtful perspective on intellectual property to his skeptical-but-ever-hopeful analysis of politics, Michael possessed and vigorously used what he liked to call an “orthogonal mind.” He loved to play the Devil’s advocate, to challenge conventional wisdom and map out new strategies for his clients. I am really glad he got to enjoy positive feedback and counterpoint for his two books and his blog during his lifetime. But they continue to be read around the world and will shape others’ knowledge and actions for many years to come.
“Remember me kindly, but honestly,” Michael told us. We of his family will remember him fondly, hilariously, and yes, honestly, at Thanksgiving in Rochester this week. If you have any remembrances of Michael that you’d like to share, please post them below.