A community mourns
The emotional bands of the human experience are often punctuated by events that awaken long dormant reflections on the fragility of our existence and the ties we have to people who populate our lives. One such event occurred early this past Sunday morning as word began to spread of the tragic deaths of Paul and Darla Tripoli.
Any native Washingtonian is more than familiar with the Tripoli name and its representation of a large and loving family who epitomize joy, philanthropy and all that is good about the Washington community as a whole. Paul was a unique member of this special family. I knew Paul from the time we were very small children in grade school, and although we were never especially close, we didn’t have to be – that’s what made him special. Paul knew no strangers, and long-ago classmates were treated as dear friends no matter the number of intervening years.
Paul was blessed with many gifts; he was innately hilarious which endears any person to their fellow human beings. He was an entertaining public speaker, which is an invaluable commodity for anyone in public life who is obligated to attend such events. Above all he was a compassionate man whose life work benefitted those he treated, including people close to me.
I never had the privilege to know Darla, but marrying Paul told me all I needed to know that she was as special as he was.
It is so common that in a society that coined the phrase “selfie” that we take for granted our surroundings and the special people in our lives that their sudden and tragic absence is a shock to our sensibilities.
Given Paul’s ebullient personality it seems counterintuitive to use the word mourn in regard to his passing, but it also can’t be denied that our community is just a little darker now that he’s gone.