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Our whole life is a quest of sorts, an endless search for the vision of who we are. The people we meet, especially the ones we love, add their unique flavor to the mix of who we become. When they pass, we carry the memory of those people in our hearts, like a Lakota shaman would carry his objects of power in a medicine bag.

Sometimes the memories give us the power of hard-earned experience. Other times they can bring the power of a smile at something that was said, an amusing bump against a wall of life that was shared. And in bad times, the glow of those memories can bring the power of warmth, a comfort in the drafty cold.

My wife’s brother died on Wednesday.

We fished together. We talked sports and investing and wives and kids and life in general, trying to make sense of it all. We hoisted far too many beers together… at weddings and funerals and open houses and other family functions.

He was one of the people whose memory I’ll always carry with me. One of the good ones.

Time will pass, and the smile will return when his memory pops into my mind. Our hearts are always changing.

Right now, his memory is heavy.