What I have been dreading for nearly 3 years finally happened. My close friend and colleague Mary Sigler succumbed to pancreatic cancer late Friday night / early Saturday morning. Word is that she passed in her sleep with her dog Luke snuggling with her, the most appropriate way for her to go.
I love Mary for many reasons. She was a great friend, she set me up on a blind date with my wife, found my wedding ring when it fell off into the grass at the dog park (at night). I could go on and on. The reason I write about her on this blog is to acknowledge her professional influence. There is a long list to whom I owe thanks for careerwise (thank you all), and I owe Mary a lot. As a clinician, I don’t have to engage in scholarly activities, but I do and Mary, a crim law scholar, helped me gain my scholarly voice. She and I talked about faculty presentations, about writing, and about my ideas – both good and bad. She gave me all kinds of writing advice, my favorite of which I share. When concluding an article, you need a good dismount. Simply summarizing your article doesn’t cut it, as most articles do that in the introduction. Like in gymnastics, the dismount doesn’t make the routine, but it can detract from the routine. So, the dismount needs to be both complimentary and interesting in its own right. To do this don’t be afraid to add something that’s not in the article for that final flourish. But the key (and difficulty) is you have to stick the landing – being interesting and fresh while still being complimentary.
Whether I’ve been able to do that or not, Mary helped me strive to be a better writer. And this approach along with our many conversations raised my critical thinking abilities. And for that, among many other things, thank you Mary. I am indebted to you for making me a better professional and a better, more well-rounded person. I love you and miss you. Rest in peace.