Category Archives: Condolences

Day 187: Keaton Marek

Day 187-3Just after midnight on June 14th, Keaton Marek, a 22-year-old recent graduate of George Washington University, was found dead on the sidewalk near the intersection of 24th and M streets here in Washington. I work less than a block away and frequent a Starbucks there often.

I went by today and saw a memorial of letters and flowers and stopped to read them. Although I did know the young man, I was moved to write him a note and place it at the memorial.

RIP Keaton.


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We never met, but perhaps we crossed paths as I live nearby. I as deeply saddened to learn about your death. It touched me as it has so many others. I read the heartfelt messages that others have left for you and your family. I read about your athletic and academic accomplishments, your volunteer work and your natural curiosity of the world. I wish that I, and others, had known you. You made a difference in people’s lives and they are better for having known you. 

You will live forever in our hearts.

With love for you and your family,
Reed Sandridge


Day 124: Laura and Rob



“I want to be remembered as a kid who went down fighting, and didn’t really lose” – Zach Sobiech photo:

Sometimes the timing of events gives you pause and makes you wonder if it is just coincidental or if there is some other reason behind their occurrence. Today’s letter talks to that very phenomenon.

Zach Sobiech was 14 when he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a bone cancer which mostly strikes children. Zach underwent almost a dozen surgeries and some 20 rounds of chemotherapy, but sadly died less than a month after his 18th birthday in 2013.

He started writing music after his diagnosis. His song Clouds is beautiful and I hope that you will listen to it while you read this letter to his parents. Click here to listen one of my favorite versions of the song that features Zach singing the song with a host of celebrities. It’s really cool, but get the box of tissues.

Day 124

Dear Laura and Rob,

Yesterday I found myself watching a video online and realized that the music sounded familiar – it was Zach’s Clouds.

I remember hearing about Zach and his story around the time of his death in May of 2013. Listening to Clouds yesterday I decided to Google Zach and was surprised when I saw that it was his birthday and that he would have turned 20.

Sobiech family, photo:

Sobiech family, photo:

Something told me that it wasn’t a coincidence that I heard the song, looked him up, discovered it was his birthday – so I decided to write you a letter. I am very sorry for your loss. Zach seemed like a wonderful person.

I imagine that May might be a difficult time for your family. Please know that he and his music live on forever in the hearts and minds of the millions of people he touched.

Warmest regards,
Reed Sandridge

Cloud by Zach Sobiech

zach-1I fell down, down, down
Into this dark and lonely hole
There was no one there to care about me anymore
And I needed a way to climb and grab a hold of the edge
You were sitting there holding a rope

And we’ll go up, up, up
But I’ll fly a little higher
Go up in the clouds because the view’s a little nicer
Up here my dear
It won’t be long now, it won’t be long now

When we get back on land
Well I’ll never get my chance
Be ready to live and it’ll be ripped right out of my hands
And maybe someday we’ll take a little ride
Go up, up, up and everything will be just fine

We’ll go up, up, up
But I’ll fly a little higher
Go up in the clouds because the view’s a little nicer
Up here my dear

It won’t be long now, it won’t be long now
If only I had a little bit more time
If only I had a little bit more time with you

We could go up, up, up
And take that little ride
We’ll sit there holding hands
And everything would be just right
And maybe someday I’ll see you again
We’ll float up in the clouds and we’ll never see the end

We’ll go up, up, up
But I’ll fly a little higher
Go up in the clouds because the view’s a little nicer
Up here my dear
It won’t be long now, it won’t be long now

Day 117: Robert

My friend Robert lost his father recently. As is the case more and more, I heard the news on Facebook – which is always an oddity for me. You want to show support but don’t necessarily want to “like” it on Facebook. So I decided to drop him a handwritten note.

Day 117 tequila

I got this shot glass at a going away party for Robert when he left DC a few years ago. Seemed fitting to us it today.

Robert was back in Louisville, KY this weekend with his family as they came together to celebrate his father’s life. And while I felt sad for my friend and his family, I could see through the photographs that they truly celebrated his life. And if his father is anything like Robert, he wouldn’t have wanted people to be sad, he probably would have preferred everyone to take a shot of tequila and get back to contributing to our community (unless that involved driving!)

So…here’s to Robert’s dad!

Day 117


I’m so sorry to hear about your father. I can only imagine what a wonderful and interesting man he was. It’s never easy losing the people we love the most and I hope that it somehow comforts you to know that others are keeping you in their thoughts.

Lots of love to you and your family,
Reed Sandridge




Day 75: Meg

Day 7576-4My friend Meg lost her mother last week. She died the day after her 78th birthday. Losing family members is painful – it’s been 8 years since my mother died and I miss her just as much today as I did back in December of 2006 when she passed away.

Meg is smart, caring and has a generous sense of humor – she’s the type of person everyone likes. I’m sad for my friend today – I know how much her heart must be aching.

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Dear Meg,

I am so sorry to hear about your mother. While I never knew her, I can imagine what a wonderful person she was – she raised an incredible daughter.

I believe that you are in Missouri right now – I hope it helps knowing how many people are keeping you and your family in our thoughts.

Let’s find time to get together when you are back.




Day 63: Sympathy note

Hearing the news of the death of friend is always difficult. Today’s note is to a colleague of mine whose wife lost her five-year battle with cancer on Tuesday. I’m breaking with my normal posting practice and not showing the specific letter in respect to my friend and his family. I didn’t know his wife well, but she seemed to be an exceptional spouse, mother of two young children, and professional. My thoughts are with their entire family as they deal with this tragedy.