Thursday, July 8, 2010

Advice by someone who's been there

This letter was truly a gift. I had found it had become too hard to read the many heartfelt condolences I had received and had them piled up in a basket in my kitchen. Finally I was ready and I sat down to go through them. This letter was one of the first ones I came across. I knew that Laura's ex-boyfriend had lost his father at 12, but at the time it was only a footnote that didn't directly impact my life experience. Laura had asked his mother, who like me was left a young widow with four young children, to write me. I read the letter twice with tears streaming down my face, and after the second time, I impulsively decided to call her. It was late in D.C., but I knew three hours earlier in California where she lived. We talked for about an hour and there is nothing that can compare to the understanding of someone who has walked in your shoes. I also know that she has four wonderful children and a strong and loving family so that was an inspiration in itself. I found her letter so beautiful and its advice so pertinent that I asked her if I could share it. She graciously agreed and here it is:

Dear Katherine,

I am a friend of Laura’s, Peter’s mother. Laura is very dear to us and I feel like I know you from hearing about you and your family from Laura.

I was so sorry to hear about hour husband Thai. As you know, I have experienced the same loss at just about the same time you did. Four young children and very unexpected. It is so difficult to understand why this happens.

I saw the picture of your darling family from your visit to California. The boys are adorable. Laura thought I could pass on some thoughts that might be helpful. I can only tell you what I learned on the journey and I will admit I was muddling through most of the time!

I decided it was not going to help anyone by making the family victims of uncontrollable circumstance. Rather I took the path of letting them know what a fabulous and wonderful father they had. We talked about him all the time, what his favorite things were, sports teams, food, music. I think this was important because it gave the children an avenue to talk to me without worrying about upsetting me. This was really important for Charlie (he was 6) to remember his father with information shared by all of us. I reminded them of who he was and what a great guy he was by mentioning the small things. To this day, it comes up in conversation: “Dad said/likes/this or that.”

I was kind of tough when one or the other might think there should be an excuse for behavior because their dad had died. I did not let that happen—hard to do but it made them better able to accept responsibility.

Rely on friends and I know your family is close by which is so nice. Remind everyone to talk about Thai in regular conversation. The children like to know others feel the loss as well and that he is missed by many. People are sometimes uncomfortable, worried about bringing Thai up, but you will see the boys light up when his name is mentioned.

I also think it can be particularly hard on the children 11-14. Too old to cry and too young to understand. Peter was 12 and he kept a lot in—it took longer for him to understand.

You have a job ahead but it comes with many rewards. I have 4 wonderful children. They love each other and we have lots of fun. We have a great relationship partly because of Bryan’s death. We all share that loss and that is something special. I would have never thought it would be that way, but I am grateful. I do know I miss him everyday still and smile each time I think of him. He loved us very much and I know he would have loved to see the children grow up. There are rewards for me of seeing the family intact and happy. I know you can’t see it now but your future is bright. I know it was a blessing to have the children with me to share the loss and grow together. I can’t imagine being alone with a loss like Thai. I had to get up and going every day.

Please call if you feel like it. Take care of yourself and know you will see Thai in the children as they grow. I will be a surprise, maybe in the way they move or an expression. It still amazes me when it appears. And it is another gift I did not expect.

It has been 16 years and sometimes it feels like forever and others like just yesterday. The first year was a blur and I didn’t even realize it. I do feel fortunate to have had a great and loving husband—for too short a time for sure. From what I hear from Peter, you did as well.

Take care—Fondly, Margie

June 19, 2010

Remembrance from a sister in law

My sister Laura was born when I was 19 years old. She was an adorable little girl and I was crazy about her, but our relationship was much more like aunt and niece than sisters. As she's matured, however, she's turned into this smart, funny, and beautiful inside and out young woman who I so enjoy talking to and sharing things with. She was a huge support through this whole ordeal for both me and the boys. There is no question she is now a full fledged sister in every sense of the word.

The loss of Thai at this point in Laura's life seems particularly cruel. For years, I would find Thai at a family gathering espousing his views on world politics or the economy to a rather glazed over Laura. But as she attended business school and thereby fulfilled one of Thai's long term dreams, Thai and Laura could truly relate. He was fascinated by hearing about her classes, professors, and of course always had to dig a little into her love life. He loved brainstorming with her about her next career moves (nuclear energy!) At the memorial, Laura did a reading of the poem that was printed on the program and discussed Thai's influence:

I give you this one thought to keep
I am with you still
I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sunlight on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not think of me as gone
I am with you still
In each new dawn.

Thai held everyone to the highest standard and always pushed people to do and be their best. I always valued that quality in him. Whenever talking about my school and career choices he would always challenge me to do something bigger and better than I even thought possible. After Thai passed, I was driving with my mom on a perfect summer day and I was surprised by the feeling that he was present in everything around me. His presence gave me a sense of security and an increased feeling of motivation. Motivation to take on my future endeavors in a way that would make Thai proud, in a way that would make a difference in this world. He left an indelible impression on me and after that day I know he will be with me forever.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Some of my e-mails before and after Thai's death

This was definitely the most difficult post for me to put together. The optimism we had in the beginning, now that I know the outcome, is heartbreaking to read. And yet I want to make sure that my boys know that I was always upfront with them. We were receiving a cautious but optimistic message on Thai's eventual recovery which I desperately wanted to believe and I shared that message with them until Friday night when we learned the devastating truth. Many of you have already seen most of these messages.

Tuesday 6/1 E-mail to a group of friends on my e-mail contacts

The outpouring of support for Thai and our family during this very difficult time has been overwhelming. I can’t tell you how much it means to us. We are so lucky to live in such a wonderful community with such incredible people.

Thai is currently stable, but fully sedated at this point. He had a rough time of it initially, but he seems to be mending as well as anyone can hope. We will know more in a few days when he is brought out of the sedation and the heart has a chance to recover. We are hopeful for a full recovery, but don’t know what that will entail yet. I am including the following note that was sent out by Thai’s partner since his description is better than mine. Here’s the note:

By now many of you have heard about Thai McGreivy. For those of you that did not I wanted to let you know and ask for your support and prayers for Thai, Katherine and their family. Yesterday morning Thai was starting out on a bike ride with a group of friends when he suddenly collapsed. He was brought to the ER at Suburban Hospital in cardiac arrest. After being resuscitated in the ER he was transported to the cath lab and had emergency angioplasty and placement of a drug eluting stent in his LAD. He is now in the CV ICU undergoing a cerebral cooling protocol while his CV status stabilizes. The next several days will be critical as his heart recovers and he wakes up from the drug induced sedation he is currently under.There were many things that went right in a terrible situation for Thai. He was with friends and not alone. A physician passing by stopped to render aid and monitor his pulse, which he had, until EMS arrived. As he lost pulses for the initial episode the Medics were on scene and able to quickly start to resuscitate him. He was brought to the ER where an experienced cardiologist, not on call for STEMIs, just happened to be ‘around’ and was able to respond to the ER on a holiday to facilitate his care. He had a resource nurse care for him from ER to cath lab to the ICU ensuring a great continuum of care. He was transported to a facility that was able to offer emergency PTCA as well as a cerebral cooling protocol for post arrest patients. All of the above state of the art and delivered very timely. As one of the medics, Chris, stated ‘today the system worked exactly as it was supposed to work’. That is not always the case as we all know. Shahana will help to coordinate the response on the MEP end. I know that many of you may want to visit and while appreciated I ask that you allow his family some time to focus on Thai and his recovery for a few days before dropping by to offer your support. The best thing we can do now is offer our prayers, love and support to Thai, Katherine and his family. Thanks,Angelo

I know I have forgotten people on this list. Please feel free to forward this note to anyone who you think might want to receive it.

Much love,


Tuesday 6/1 (Private e-mail to Carrie)

Thai is stable and off a lot of the artificial support he was on. We don't know when they are going to lift sedation. Maybe tomorrow, maybe Thursday. That's the next big hurdle since we won't know his mental status until then. The waiting is really tough. Just pray that he's still the same Thai we all love.

Wednesday 6/2 (private e-mail to Carrie)

Some good news is that his cardiac output/blood pressure is improving. They are going to try to lift sedation this evening. This is a really scary time because we just don't know what to expect in terms of mental status and I can't get any answers other than they don't know what to expect. I've asked sixty different ways and I get the same answer. So please send as many good thoughts/prayers Thai's way as you can. Also, there is an MEP facebook site that Angelo is updating with status updates if people want to check that.

Love, Kath

Thursday 6/3 (e-mail to Helping Hands group)

Thai had a bit of a setback last night when he came down with pneumonia. It was unfortunate, but not a surprise considering the amount of fluid he had in his lungs. They are treating him aggressively with antibiotics to get rid of the infection and a diuretic to get rid of the fluid. I talked to the nurse this morning and she told me that his numbers were moving in the right direction. The medical care at Suburban has been top notch so we are very lucky to be there. They have warned me to expect a bumpy ride, but everyone is optimistic that the ultimate outcome will be positive. In the meantime, it means they can’t lift the sedation as we had hoped. Unless things turn quickly, it could be several days, a week or even more. Of course, the waiting is agony, but the important thing is Thai is healing. And as his ICU doc told me last night, “This is all just ICU stuff. If he wasn’t having this stuff, he wouldn’t be in the ICU.” It made me feel better knowing that at least for them, this was routine. And Thai’s strong, so I think he may beat all their predictions. Four days before this happened, he had been on a 30 mile bike ride.

Again, thank you so much for the outpouring of support. It means so much and I’m sorry I can’t answer everyone’s e-mails personally. My Luddite-ness is catching up with me since I have no access to e-mail during the day when I’m at the hospital.

Much love,


Friday 6/4 (e-mail to Helping Hands group the morning before going to hospital)

Yesterday was a bit of a rocky day for Thai as he struggled to clear the gunk from his lungs from the pneumonia. They had started weaning him off of oxygen and lowering his respirator support, but sometime in the morning, his oxygen saturation numbers dropped and they had to up his oxygen back to 100 percent and increase the work the machine was doing for him. Because of his fragile medical condition, they couldn’t do all the things they would usually do to clear his lungs. They did finally manage to loosen things up with some physical manipulation of his chest and switched out his ventilator to a different kind and when I called this morning he was back down to 50 percent oxygen so things are improving. I’m hoping we’re at the beginning of the end of this ordeal, but am trying to keep myself prepared for the roller coaster to continue. Besides Thai, the boys are of course my biggest concern and I’m trying so hard to keep their lives as normal as possible. We are being optimistic, but honest, and trying to keep them in all their activities to keep them busy and active. Jan gave me a terrific book on helping your kids when your parent has a serious illness and it was a great relief that my instincts seemed to be right in this stuff. I have had amazing help from my friends both for me and my kids. Thank you so much everyone. I believe there have been a few silver linings to this nightmarish situation. One is I’ve finally lost that five pounds that was my summer swimsuit goal. The others are the love I’ve felt surrounded by, the affirmation of the essential goodness of people and the realization of how wonderful life really is. Seize the day because you really never know what’s around the corner. Some of you know this, but I wanted to share how incredible Thai’s partners have been in this situation. I’ve long known they were a great group of people, but I’ve really been overwhelmed by what they’ve been doing. There has been an MEP doctor at the hospital 24 hours a day from the time this has started even though they also need to cover Thai’s shifts. They have been there to monitor Thai’s care and offer support. I see why Thai loved his work so much working with people like this.Keep your thoughts and prayers on Thai licking this pneumonia and being able to get weaned off the ventilator and woken up. Love,Katherine

Saturday 6/5 (E-mail to Helping Hands website)

It is with a heavy heart that I have to tell you the devastating news we received yesterday. Thai was winning the battle with pneumonia, but our greatest underlying fear was realized. Being finally stable enough to undergo a CAT scan, we learned that he had suffered massive and irreversible brain damage during his ordeal with no hope of a meaningful recovery. The love of my life and the beloved father of four sons as we knew him is gone, although his heart is still beating. I faced the hardest thing I have ever done in my life which was to tell his four sons that their daddy wasn’t coming home. They are grieving deeply but I hope healthily. Today we will go to say our goodbyes. Right now we are closing ranks together as a family to deal with this tragedy, but I will welcome your love and support in a few days. I will let Carrie know when I feel ready. I know your thoughts are with us.

Love, Katherine

Sunday 6/6 (Private e-mail to a group of friends)

We are ready to reach out and receive the support we know is there. You are such a strong, capable group of women and I know I can count on you. I am so lucky to have that support in my life. We are still waiting for a final resolution which is largely dependent upon the rules surrounding organ donation, rules I hope you never have to know. I want to start thinking though about how to honor Thai’s life and I need help getting started on that. I’ve figured out some things and right now I guess my main thought is a location. I have one idea—the Unitarian church on River has a glass open chapel that is nice, but may be too small. Any other thoughts of locations between here and Gaithersburg would be great. I’ve decided it will be spiritual, but not religious and I am planning on asking Angelo to officiate (although I haven’t asked him yet.) Any creative ideas in general are appreciated as my well is dry.

James informed me he is ready to play with his friends today. He is grieving, but it is so different (and easier) to deal with his. Let me know if Aidan or Matthew is available today.

Much love,


Monday 6/7 (E-mail to the Helping Hands website)

Thai rests in peace. He passed calmly and tranquilly around 11:30 last night. Around 1:00 that afternoon we decided the time was right to begin the process for organ donation. We spent the day at the hospital with Thai as the complicated process of readying facilities and finding recipients began. My mom and sister and several of Thai’s partners were with me and we honored Thai with affectionate stories, readings from his blogs, tears and laughter. We also spent time alone with Thai saying last goodbyes. At 10:00 Thai was wheeled out of the room and to the operating room while we told him how much we loved him until the elevator doors closed. We then waited upstairs for news.

At 11:25, the coordinator from the Washington Regional Transplant Community came to the door to tell us that the breathing tube had been removed and that Thai had not drawn any breaths on his own, but his heart was weakly beating. I said “Rest in peace Thai.” We all became completely silent and I immediately felt a pulse of energy that moved through me like a wave and gave me a feeling of total peace. We remained silent for a long time, a comfortable, intimate silence, but whether it was five minutes or 20 I could not say. Those of you who know me well know that I am not religious or particularly spiritual, but Nick, my mother, my sister, Angelo and his wife Amy also felt this sense of something passing through us. Thai always believed in concepts of interconnectedness and the conservation of energy in a broad way so it seems fitting. Maybe it’s true that “there are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.”

After that they reported that they had successfully removed Thai’s liver and it looked good and they were in the process of removing his kidneys. This morning we got the unfortunate news that his liver was too damaged during the cardiac event for donation, but will be used for research. His kidneys, however, looked great and will be readied for donation soon, hopefully giving a new life to two people. He is also a tissue donor and we have been told that more than 20 people may be benefitted by Thai’s gift. This gives us great comfort as there seems to be some purpose in this otherwise utterly senseless and tragic event.



Tuesday 6/8 (E-mail to Helping Hands website)

Thai’s memorial service is scheduled for Thursday June 17 at 3 p.m. at the Bethesda Theatre at 7719 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda. I will send more details as the date gets closer, but wanted to let everyone know the date and time as soon as possible. We are also in the process of setting up a memorial fund in honor of Thai that will fund educational scholarships for excellence and intellectual curiosity in science, mathematics and economics. In lieu of flowers, our family will request donations to this fund.

I also want to say thank you again and again and again for everything people have done for me. I cannot tell you what a comfort this outpouring of support has been in such a difficult time. I have read and treasured all the e-mails that you sent and plan on compiling them into a memory book for our family. I apologize that I have not been able to reply to everyone, but hope you understand that they are truly appreciated.


Tuesday 6/15 (E-mail to Helping Hands website)

Before my life took this unforeseeably tragic turn, I had attended a talk by BCC parent Caroline Adams Miller at the Westland book fair. She’s a motivational coach and frankly very inspiring about your ability to reach goals in your life. As I had been toying with the thought of returning to work in some capacity, I bought her book called “Creating Your Best Life” which talks about reaching life goals and research proven happiness boosters . Proven booster #2 is “Expressing Gratitude.” Even before I dealt with Thai’s death, I tried to express my thankfulness to those around me, including, luckily, my beloved husband.

Well, now I am overwhelmed with gratitude. I knew there was a reason why Thai and I, who moved here 15 years ago with a 7 year ARM mortgage because we never planned to stay, stayed and added on and renovated and re-renovated because we knew we would be fools to leave for some bigger house with that mythical garage and yard I have always coveted. You just can’t buy community and I have to say you all have outdone yourselves here. Whether it’s a well timed hug, a beautifully written tribute, sharing a cry, mowing our lawn, walking our dog, taking care of the kids, bringing us another delicious meal, taking on the details of all the memorial service, providing books on loss, cleaning out Thai’s car, putting up my relatives, even picking up death certificates because I just couldn’t go back to the funeral home again, it has all helped to get us through this terrible loss. The McGreivys are honored to live in such a community. With the warm embrace of my family, this community, the MEP community, and even Thai’s many online friends, we are healing, although I know it will be a lifelong journey for all of us.

Some of you may have already seen the piece in the Post Health section today. It was written by our friend John Donnelly, a journalist whose writing I have long admired as he covered BCC’s track and field team. When he asked me if I were interested in him writing something on Thai, I said absolutely knowing it would be wonderful. What is below is a longer and even more personal version of the piece that was published today in the Post:

[article was in earlier post]

Also, some of you may be aware that Thai was a passionate and frequent blogger. If you’re interested, there are a number of online tributes that have been gathered at the following site: ( Please explore; Thai would be thrilled I am sure.



MEP in Haiti

I was incredibly proud of what MEP did as a company to support Mark Hayward, a physician's assistant, in his work in Haiti after the earthquake. Like so many of us, I was devastated by what was going on there and wanted to do more than just send a check, but had no idea what I could do. Mark, with the support of MEP, put himself on the front lines.

In my prior Luddite days, the link to Mark's blog was my one and only posting on Facebook. I had no idea that Thai had been interviewed for an article about Mark's trip to Haiti by and only stumbled across his comments while looking for his blog postings. I've bolded that section of the article, but the entire story is an inspiring example of how one person can make a difference.

The devastating earthquake that hit Port-au-Prince, Haiti, on Jan. 12, was more than a news story for Mark Hayward. He saw the images on TV and immediately recognized places he had been, streets he has walked and thought of people he knew.

Hayward, an emergency medicine physician assistant at St. Mary's Hospital, worked in Haiti as a medical officer for a team of United States law enforcement personnel for three months in 2009.
"It was very personal," he said by phone this week from his home in King George, Va.
"I got a text message from a friend driving to work that night and got updates throughout my shift," he said. "It was evident very early on that it was a huge disaster."

Hayward was familiar with the poor infrastructure in the country and could only imagine the damage. The next day, he was in constant communication with as many friends as possible, and glued to the TV screen. At about 3 a.m., after not being able to sleep, he decided he had to do something.

He contacted major aid organizations, the American Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders, to offer his assistance. He explained his medical background, including time as a Special Forces medic with the U.S. Army. He told them he had worked in Haiti and was willing to deploy to help. The response was not encouraging.

"They said, ‘Thanks, but we have it under control, just send a donation,'" Hayward said. "At the same time I'm talking to guys on ground, and I asked them what they saw in terms of need. I was told it was total chaos."

Hayward even contacted his former employer from his work in Haiti, who welcomed his help, but told him to wait until they could figure out terms of a contract for their services.
Hayward couldn't wait anymore. With the support of Medical Emergency Professionals, his current employer which staffs St. Mary's Hospital's emergency room, and hospital Vice President Mark Boucot, he was preparing to leave for Haiti. He bought a ticket to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic with his own funds and got the go-head to take off.

MEP completely supported his efforts and continued to pay his salary while co-workers covered his shifts.

"How could we not? I think our whole organization had been seeing what was going on and just feeling sick at the very thought. [Emergency room] departments are very team oriented and have to be staffed 24 hours a day, so if someone leaves someone else has to cover," said Dr. Thai McGreivy, a managing partner with MEP, which is based in Germantown. "All of us wanted to do something. So we all stood behind one, and he served as a representative down there for us."

Hayward loaded a large suitcase with wound and traumatic injury supplies donated by St. Mary's Hospital. He packed another bag with supplies donated by Harder and Harder Associates, a Virginia-based company which makes specialized combat medical kits. He took another bag of personal gear and left for Santo Domingo on Jan. 16.

He had no specific plans for what he would do when he got there. On a shuttle bus to a connecting flight in Philadelphia, Hayward met Will McNulty and realized they were both headed to Santo Domingo to provide disaster relief in Haiti. McNulty was part of Team Rubicon, a grassroots team of volunteers, which welcomed Hayward's assistance.

When they arrived in Santo Domingo, he met the rest of the team, which included a former Marine intelligence officer, a Marine sniper, two firefighters, two doctors and a Jesuit monk. Team Rubicon, founded by McNulty, fellow former Marine Jake Wood and Milwaukee firefighter Jeff Lang, was formed through social networking and casual meetings. They quickly raised more than $200,000 and traveled to Port-au-Prince to provide medical services.

Wood described the team to Catholic Online as "an incredible success story that began with two phone calls and a Facebook post. It has grown into a model for disaster relief that must be paid attention to. All but two of the original eight members had never met in person before, yet the team was able to cross into Haiti and save thousands of lives because they acted."

On Sunday morning, Jan. 17, the team made the long drive into Port-au-Prince. They set up shop at a Jesuit monastery Sunday night, and immediately started to see patients. The following day, they went into the southeast part of the city.

"It was kind of like going to hell," Hayward said. "We went to an impromptu refugee camp inside the city near a Jesuit school. All we knew was there were about 900 people in the camp who hadn't received any medical attention."

Hayward's first patient was an 18-year-old boy whose fingers were smashed by falling cinderblocks. Gangrene had set in. Their job was to clean it up as best they could, then find a hospital where the hand could be amputated.

"The whole day went like that," Hayward said. "We saw from 200 to 300 patients that Monday. Probably 100 had wounds like that one. Probably another 100 had significant fractures that hadn't been treated for close to a week. I had never seen anything like that in my entire life. The utter lack of the most basic medical care for these people blew me away."

As the days went on, the team provided first-response medical care to hundreds of patients at numerous locations. They also assisted with medical procedures at a general hospital with other volunteer medical teams. Some of the work involved providing first-aid care and prepping wounds for further treatment, but Hayward said there were some cases that he never expected to be involved in as a physician's assistant.

"I was saying ‘What the hell has gone wrong that I'm taking care of this kind of wound?'" he said. "If I was back in the States, I wouldn't have touched any of this kind of stuff. Frequently down there, I would say ‘If we don't do this, it's not going to be done, so we're going to the best we can.'"

Hayward spent more than 10 days working in Haiti and said he would not hesitate to do it again. His only regret was that he couldn't get there sooner.

"One of the big reasons we're doing this interview is to make sure folks in Southern Maryland know of all the good stuff done behind the scenes by folks in Southern Maryland to help out," he said. "The other reason we're talking is because I believe very strongly that if something like this happens again probably what we'll see in the news and hear from big aid organizations is probably going to be the same … There's a critical gap between when something like this happens and when big aid organizations are able to get their teams together to make something happen. That's where the need is for small volunteer groups."

Hayward said it was hard to leave Port-au-Prince knowing there was more assistance needed. However, by that time additional medical response teams, many much larger than their team, had arrived.

"It was [hard], but it was time to go," he said. "It was time for us to get out of the way and let them do their work."

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Remembrance from another sideline Dad

My favorite part of this remembrance is the line that Thai's sudden, senseless death inspired others "to live the life that we want to live now and not squander the precious, yet limited time we have with our family and friends." My connection is too close to this situation to feel that comforting message, but I have felt it other times when a tragedy has touched me, but not so closely.

My last words to Thai were an utterly mundane good night and the last time I heard him truly alive was to be awoken by the comforting, familiar sound of his bike shoes clattering out the door. It did make me realize that you never really know when you will have your last words with someone, so striving to keep your interactions with those you love as positive as possible is always worthwhile. Of course, as I've spent a few mornings this summer scolding my kids out the door to their 8:30 swim practice, I realize that's not always an attainable goal. But always something to work towards . . . Here's Neal Nemeroff's rememberance:


I know since the tragic events of the last two weeks you have received messages of love, support and memories providing a foundation of strength helping you and the boys get through each day. I am fairly sure that my message to you will do little to ease your pain, but maybe my perspective on Thai and the meaning of all this will offer some solace in a truly incomprehensible tragedy.

The truth of the matter is I did not know Thai as a close friend. We have talked every month or so over the last 4 years; sometimes a “hey how things going” and other times an intimate conversation about our kids, while still other times more in depth conversations that oftentimes went a bit over my head. The healthcare debates in particular, early in the basketball season last year, would subsequently lead me to carefully choose my seat for the next game as far away from Thai as possible so I could actually watch the boys play. The frequency of my conversations with Thai would ebb and flow in correlation with the sports seasons that Nathan and JJ shared. With that said, I am not the most emotional guy in the world, so I have been at a loss to understand why the tears have been uncontrollably streaming from my eyes since Memorial Day. I found myself playing hooky from work last week wanting to be close to home, incessantly checking my email for community updates from you on Thai’s status and constantly thinking about what JJ and the rest of the your family were going through; my heart ached.

Katherine, in the soul searching that a senseless tragedy like this facilitates, I have realized that I truly admired Thai and I am pissed that I did not take advantage of all he had to offer and get to know him more closely. I am sure your perspective on Thai was obviously quite different than mine, but in my eyes he exhibited qualities that I admire and value most: Passion above All, Family Man, Quick Wit, Unparalleled Intellectual Curiosity and Compassion. These are all traits that make a great man and a great father. Nobody can deny, whether it is his very close friends and family, or me, a good friend, that these were traits (among others) that became the foundation of Thai’s persona.

Furthermore, in my eyes, Thai was the resident Bethesda Renaissance man. He was fully versed (and at times full of hot air) in a wide swath of subjects. Being of a more simple mind I appreciated his thoughtful approach to having fun at soccer (water guns – I mean who could have imagined); the idea of I.V.s at Starbuck’s so we would not have to drink the coffee to get the caffeine; his guts in buying a boat online and worrying about how to get it to the East Coast later; and his truly unmatched understanding of global economics that were often way over my head. Regardless of the subject matter or event, however, it was his passion in delivery and substance that always resonated with me. Nothing he ever engaged in was employed half-ass; everything was with conviction. He couldn’t even have a mild heart attack. He had to do it with gusto.

Finally, Katherine I have spoke to many Bethesda men over the last 2 weeks that cannot bring themselves to talk about Thai without tears welling in our eyes. The reasons are obvious, as past sons we know the value that our fathers have played in our lives and the compassion we feel for your boys is overwhelming. Moreover, and selfishly, Thai’s death reminded us of our own mortality. This incomprehensible situation has ignited a new passion in many Bethesda men to live the life that we want to live now and not squander the precious, yet limited time we have with our family and friends. These are not just my words, but those shared by many within the community that I have talked to. Because of this tragedy, hugs between Bethesda men have been rampant the last two weeks. I know Thai would get a big kick out of that on many levels. This is not a fleeting response. We (the Bethesda community) now want to live the “Thai Way”. The Thai Way reminds us to live with passion and compassion. To each of us that manifests itself in different ways, but to all of us it means we will become better because of Thai.

As I mentioned at the beginning of this letter I am sure my message to you will do very little to ease your heartbreak, and in fact I guess this message is more of a catharsis for me. I think, however it important for you to know that Thai’s untimely death yet tragic, is not completely meaningless. Where memories of Thai will remain in your heart and new memories will spawn from your sons’ eyes as they grow into men like Thai, Thai’s memory and will be served by all that knew him by following his lead of living life the “Thai Way”.

My deepest sympathies,

Neal Nemeroff

Saturday, June 26, 2010

A Remembrance From a Neighborhood Kid

Edgemoor is full of many talented, accomplished and, most important of all, kind children. We have a 5 foot banner filled with beautiful and caring sentiments that the Edgemoor and surrounding neighborhood kids made for my children. (Thanks Carrie.) Jack Barker is one of these amazing kids and I have often told his mom through the years: "I just love Jack--he's such a great kid." And he is. Jack wrote a book of poetry, as all 5th graders at Bethesda Elementary do as their end of the year project, and dedicated it to Thai. Here is his dedication and poem which speaks to questions we all ask.

Dedicated to Thai McGreivy, who saved many lives before he couldn't save his own.

In Remembrance of

Why did he have to go?

Why couldn't he say "hi" to me another day?

Why couldn't he walk Sasha one more day?

Why couldn't he be with James, Luke, Kyle and Nick another day?

Why couldn't he speed down the street driving his blue car with the "Berkeley" license plate again?

Why didn't he just come home from the hospital fine and healthy?

Why did this have to happen to him, James's father?

Why couldn't he have stayed, why did he have to depart from all of us?

I'll always remember you.

I'm praying for you Thai.

A tribute from a neighborhood icon

Len Simon is a remarkable guy. He has handled the stewardship of the Edgemoor Citizen's Association for many years with incredible grace and skill. We have a lot of very bright, very opionionated people in our neighborhood so a discussion about sidewalks or dog etiquette can become quite passionate. Watching Len let everyone be heard while maintaining dignity and decorum is like watching an artist at work. He has also given me some precious Thai memories that I will always treasure. Each year, Len, his wife, and his sons organize a summer musical complete with props, live musical accompaniment, and uneven, but always earnest, performers from the neighborhood. Over the last two years, people learned something that I have long known from car trips and showers: Thai has a beautiful voice. I was so proud of him after he nailed duets from "Fiddler on the Roof" and "Oklahoma" with Julie Mack, a professional jazz singer. "Thai Bennet" became his new nickname. (Thanks Bob) I thought those duets with Julie would become an annual tradition, but alas it was not to be. Thanks, Len, for the memories. Here's Len's wonderful tribute:

The great writer Mary McGrory emerged from President Kennedy’s funeral, on the arm of Daniel Patrick Moynihan and said, “Pat, I’m afraid we’ll never be happy again.” He responded – “Mary, we’ll be happy. We’ll just never be young again”. That’s a bit of how I feel today about Thai. Something young and vibrant has been taken from us, and we will not see its likes again. His passing, for us, is a point of demarcation. You felt so good around him – the energy and enthusiasm. How can it be replaceable?

But Thai will be frozen in time. I sometimes feel that John and Robert Kennedy remain the icons they are because they never got old. No grey hairs, soft flesh, aching joints for them. Or for Thai. He will remain forever young, bright energetic and smiling, a standard against which all of us will measure ourselves, and come up a bit short. But the trying will matter.

What on heaven or earth was God thinking? What did he have in mind -- isn’t this a savage act –to take the best of us? The answer to that is unknowable to us. And yet we can already see God’s invisible hand. I know that in the last 15 days, we don’t complain as much, we try to be more patient, we impart acts of kindness to others more quickly – think of Thai. Think of what he would do. Think of what he can’t do now.

And you know what – here we all are. Can we stay together? Can we transition from strangers to neighbors to friends? Thai wants to know. He’s looking.

When Cal Ripken retired, he was asked: “How did you want to be remembered?” He replied, “How ? -- It is enough to be remembered at all.” Thai will be remembered. There is an entire neighborhood that will take care of that. And none of the McGreivy’s will ever be far from our thoughts or our activities. Boys: You are all our sons now.

The night before he died, Dr. King said: “Like anybody, I would like to live a long life - longevity has its place”. I know all of us here would have loved nothing more that to see Thai at 50, 60, 70, 80 and beyond – each of us would have traded blood and years to make that happen.

There was once a good man named Paul Tsongas. And just like Thai, he tried to make it a better world. And just like Thai, he died very young, with young children, about 15 years ago. Recently, I have come to know his daughter Katina, who was not that much older than Nick is now when her Dad died. So on Saturday, I asked her, “Do you have a message for the McGreivy boys?"
She said, “Don’t be afraid of your pain. And don’t be afraid to express your love. Put your Dad beside you”. All of us who have lost a parent knows, they go to a different place, but never truly go away.

On Sunday I visited the memorial in Oklahoma City, where 168 people died in a bombing in 1995. The most profound part of the experience was listening to a woman who survived, and a woman who lost her sister in the bombing and then went on to raise her three children. They both had the same message: Nothing we do changes the past. Everything we do changes the future.

In times when the right words elude you, when you cannot bring forth the sentiments you wish to express, if you turn to Shakespeare, you will almost always find what you need. And so from Romeo and Juliet, comes a passage that reads as if it was written to Thai:

When he shall die,

Thursday, June 24, 2010

The Andover Years: Ali

This remembrance was written by Thai's friend Ali O'Halloran, a friend of Thai's from Andover. I remember Thai always speaking very fondly of her and her e-mails to me have been loving and gracious, but sadly I've never met her. Hopefully some day, Ali, we can meet and you can tell me more about what my husband was like when you met him--exactly the same age as Nicholas is now.

It is past midnight, so it means that today is Thai's memorial service. How can that be? Words are hard to come by, but it is the least I can do to try.

I met Thai in 1981, when he literally swooped into view on his skateboard. "Hi, I'm Thai!" I remember that day so vividly. The afternoon sun wound through the leaves, the leaves themselves rustling and leaving dappled shadows. Nervous, kinetic energy was everywhere as we all tried to act like this sudden deposition of our young selves into a storied prep school was all cool and part of the plan.

We had an easy start to our friendship as I had just come from Thailand to Andover, a world away from my family. He was wearing a kelly green polo shirt and faded OP shorts. His hair feathered back a bit, he was tan, those amazing eyes and that California easy going vibe; that was Thai and I hung onto the name and the promise of no sweat, hang ten, take it easy. Little did I know that his particular California vibe hummed with his energy, his passion, his intensity. Little did I know that I had just been given the gift of a most wondrous kind soul, and that we'd spend 3 years closely together as friends.

Thai's first girlfriend at Andover was my good friend. My boyfriend lived in Thai's dorm. We had a lot to talk about, Thai and I, and we did. What is lust vs. love? How does attraction work? Is this because we are far from home? I don't understand my math (that would be my question) I have to get back before sign in time. See you tomorrow! Thai and I were ahead of ourselves. We kissed each other on the cheek often to say bye. Platonic kisses, kind kisses, and kisses that made sense given whatever deep revelations we had just sifted out in the time together. I'd lie with my head on his stomach and we'd both talk and laugh through stories.

I am hard of hearing and wear hearing aids and rely a lot on lip reading. Thai was naturally curious, wanting to know what I could or couldn't hear. "How do I know what I don't hear if I haven't heard it,?' I'd ask and we'd dissolve into laughter and silly thoughts. I'd turn over and rest my arms on Thai's stomach and look up at him. A bit awkward for friends, but it was a way to get close and lip read. I needed to lip read Thai because he had so much to say! And somehow, we were comfortable with it.

Even as I got myself into a "heavy" relationship while Thai's relationship with my friend didn't last long, Thai and I still connected. He was alternatively the voice of reason and the total imp. He gave a weird smile once to me and I turned to my boyfriend and wondered out loud what the little knowing smirk was about. It figures--the two of them had discussed sex and Thai must have thought something had happened!

I ran back to find Thai, "No way Thai! nothing!" and he looked at me and said "aaahahah." Anyway, Thai's knowing glance was wrong then, probably one of the few times Thai was flat out wrong! Thai running with no socks on. Thai muttering about the cold, Thai asking me if his clothes matched. Oh Thai! A few letters in college to each other and a meetup in LA. He met me at the door with a skull in his hands. He was trying to get the cranial nerves down. I couldn't resist: "To be, or not to be.." we walked and sat at a park bench near the ocean. I gave him the details of the death knell of my Andover relationship--one that had had many death knells-but this was the final curtain drawn. He listened and supported and I leaned into him. Still Thai, still so easy to hang out with. He told me I was beyond and needed more, that there was so much more and so much better out there for me. "All the fish in the sea!" as he pointed to the ocean, as earnest as a vacuum cleaner door to door salesman! I had to laugh. Once again, the guy made me laugh!

And then for whatever reason, I lost touch. I had an ambivalent read of my Andover years; so thrilled with the learning, but also a measure of regret that I was just so damn needy and in this way- over -my head relationship. Part of me pushed out Andover because I didn't like my lovelorn dependency back then. I could have made many more enduring friendships and most certainly could have stayed in better touch with the friends I had.

Facebook and Thai! We chatted recently, comparing medical and anatomical differences (I am a veterinarian) and discussing odd cases that might have benefited from having both an ER physician and a veterinarian on site. He talked about feeling that sometimes he just got too rational and matter of fact and had to remember sentience/emotions and passing news gently. I have no doubt he did this well; he was just thinking about how to do it better. We chatted about sleep, drugs, snoring, swimming, kids, dogs, food, Andover, hospital revenue, insurance companies, and maybe we even hit the weather. Yes, we did chat about the weather!

I feel his death poignantly. There is another weird tangential distress for me. Thai was there to soothe Chris (my then boyfriend) when his Dad unexpectedly passed away while we were at Andover. Chris' dad was 43 and out on his bike . This coincidence has me tumbling into the rabbit hole.

I can only say, with tears in my eyes, thank you Thai, for being my friend. For finding your soulmate in Katherine (I told you you would!) and loving her fully, for your beautiful boys who will carry their mother through the dark times just as she will carry them. For knowing how much a dog brings unconditional love to a family. For building a family. I love you, my friend. I miss you. Next time I'm out that way, I'm going to walk Andover one more time for you. Be Happy wherever you are. Grab a skateboard and go!

with love, Ali

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Another online appreciation

I found this online appreciation of Thai while browsing his web posts. I knew many of his blogs, but was not aware he posted on this one. The name of the blog is Movin' Meat:
The Accidental Blog of a Semi-accidental ER doc living in the Pacific Northwest. Here it is:

Thai was a regular commenter who gave me a lot of grief. He had a much more conservative view, especially on the economics of medicine and the outlook for the future, with or without health care reform. He was dogged in arguing his point, but he was always respectful and on-topic. When I saw his name pop up in the comments I always had to brace myself for the vigorous back and forth that was sure to follow. We went to the same residency program, a few years apart. We never met but we corresponded a fair bit off-line.I just found out that he died last week after sustaining a heart attack. He left behind a wife and four boys. I'll miss his contributions, and my thoughts are with his family just now.In lieu of flowers, his family suggests donations to the Thai McGreivy, M.D. Memorial Fund, which was established by the family in Thai’s honor to fund educational scholarships for excellence and intellectual curiosity in science, mathematics and economics. To contribute by check: Make checks payable to the “Thai McGreivy, M.D. Memorial Fund/CFNCR” And mail them to: The Community Foundation for the National Capital Region Attn: Kenny Emson, 1201 15th Street NW, Suite 420, Washington, DC 20005

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

An appreciation of Thai

Some of you may have already seen the piece on Thai in the Post Health section on Tuesday June 15, 2010. It was written by our friend John Donnelly, a journalist whose writing I have long admired as he covered BCC’s track and field team. When he asked me if I were interested in him writing something on Thai, I said absolutely knowing it would be wonderful. What is below is a longer and even more personal version of the piece that was published in the Post:

On May 29, at 8:18 p.m., Dr. Thai McGreivy posted a guest blog on the Street Rat Crazy Saloon site titled, ``OK, my first short health care thoughts.’’ The item wasn’t so short, it wasn’t just about health care, but it was vintage McGreivy – provocative and piecing together seemingly disconnected big issues.

He wrote that municipalities were in budget crises and they might take aim at Emergency Medical Services. It made sense, he said, because spending had risen rapidly for EMS, but those extra costs weren’t resulting in improved survival rates.
Less than two days later, on Memorial Day, McGreivy, 43, suffered a massive heart attack while biking on Goldsboro Road in Bethesda en route for a long ride to Poolesville. EMS paramedics rushed to the scene, where he lay unconscious with no pulse. They did everything possible, including getting him to an emergency room at Suburban Hospital as quickly as possible. There, a team revived his heart.

McGreivy, an emergency room physician himself, remained in a coma as his heart showed signs of recovery. Four days after his collapse, doctors performed a critical test – a CAT scan on his brain, and the results were heartbreaking: severe brain damage due to a long period of oxygen deprivation. Nearly one week after his heart attack, officials pronounced him brain dead and his family authorized doctors to harvest all salvageable organs for those in need.
In death, McGreivy gave life – two kidneys and enough tissue for roughly 20 medical applications -- and his family and friends are grateful for the exemplary work of the EMS crew. They kept him alive against all odds.

But his guest blog post wasn’t wrong – not in terms of the metrics of public health. And therein lies a story about a relatively young man who left a mark on the quality of health care around the region precisely because he was unafraid to challenge anyone or anything, especially when it came to health care. In a very real sense, long before the national health reform debate, McGreivy was a one-man reformer – about a host of national issues around budgets and health and energy.

McGreivy, a husband, father of four boys, California born, was passionate about figuring out what made things work and what were the underlying factors that influenced outcomes, ranging from emergency rooms to global economic crises.

``His mind never stopped – ever,’’ said his wife, Katherine, softly laughing. ``I loved him dearly, but sometimes he was exhausting. He never stopped thinking and analyzing, and he always wanted to talk about ideas, and after hours of this, I would be, like, `Can’t we just gossip about the neighbors?’’’

He was chief financial officer of Medical Emergency Professionals (MEP), a 100-plus-employee company based in Germantown that runs five emergency rooms in Maryland – Shady Grove Adventist Hospital and Germantown Emergency Center in Rockville; Washington County Hospital in Hagerstown; Western Maryland Health System in Cumberland; and St. Mary’s Hospital in Leonardtown.

In all, the group, which started in 1997, oversees the emergency-room treatment of 300,000 patients a year; it contracts with each hospital, assuming all costs of ER service (which often run at a huge deficit to hospitals in part because of the numbers of uninsured) for no fee.
In each hospital, McGreivy and his partners strove to find cost-saving efficiencies while also improving patient care. In both Hagerstown and Cumberland, their system saved hospitals hundreds of thousands of dollar a year and shaved time off how long patients had to wait to see a doctor or nurse. At St. Mary’s Hospital, surveys showed patient satisfaction doubled over the past five years, now reaching levels of more than 90 percent reporting being satisified with their care.

McGreivy, said hospital CEO and President Christine R. Wray, ``was a tremendous catalyst to help St. Mary's Hospital change for the good. He was a terrific advocate in pursuit of excellence through data analysis.’’

Dr. Angelo Falcone, CEO of MEP, said McGreivy frequently pushed his peers. ``He always talked about how we had to make the hard decisions from an efficiency standpoint, and make sure they positively impact patients’ health,’’ he said.

One example rose in the Hagerstown hospital recently – a puzzle as to why doctors were seeing fewer patients than targets set by the group. At first, McGreivy and others hired $20-an-hour scribes to take notes for doctors, but that did not get the desired results. McGreivy studied it some more, discovering an anomaly at the hospital: physician assistants were seeing an unusually high number of patients. This was a problem because some of those patients could have gone straight to the doctor, and the doctors, in the meantime, had too much time on their hands. They could have been more productive – a cost savings to MEP and also, ultimately, to patients.

``There were a lot of moving parts in trying to figure out what was going on – 15 to 20 variables,’’ said Dr. Michael Cetta, MEP’s chief of business development. ``But he was able to think out of the box, and identify why it wasn’t working as well as possible. At our last management meeting, just a few weeks ago, he had figured it out, and now we are trying to fix it.’’

That was just one part of McGreivy’s impact, said his peers.
Justin Shaper, chief technology officer at PSR, a Dallas-based company that worked with MEP to help it manage its business, recalled how he and McGreivy developed software to standardize reviews of doctors’ charts of patients. Today, MEP and roughly a dozen other doctors’ groups around the country now use this more scientific approach to better evaluate doctors’ performance.

``There are a lot of overachievers out there, but what was special about Thai was that he never lost sight of the human connection in things – he kept coming back to the patient quality of care,’’ Shaper said, talking on his cell-phone while driving into downtown Dallas. He started to choke up. ``I’m sorry,’’ he said finally. ``Let me tell you a story about a dinner that we had together.’’

Seven years ago, Shaper, his wife, and their two children were eating a meal with McGreivy during a break in a conference in the Florida Keys, in Islamorada. ``At one point, Thai, who is an emergency room physician, one of a group of people who work under phenomenal pressure, who make life-and-death decisions, who make life better for people every day, he turns to my kids and says, `I hope you know your dad is helping save people’s lives.’’’
Shaper wept over the phone. ``That was the thing about Thai – while he was really into all these intellectual things, he still had an appreciation for what others were doing, and he let them know they were a part of doing something important.’’

And so it was, too, in his blog on EMS for Street Rat Crazy Saloon, when after writing about the questionable costs of EMS services, he wrote, ``I truly think most of the men and women in EMS are heroes.’’

In the hours before doctors removed McGreivy’s organs on June 6, Katherine McGreivy, in a waiting room with Falcone, decided to look up her husband’s most recent blogs on an iPhone. She found the EMS post.

``It gave me goose bumps,’’ she said. ``While we’re waiting for the whole surgery and the donation, we’re reading about his thoughts on EMS, and do they make a difference in outcome. Because he was saved from an almost certain sudden death, two people are getting a kidney, many others are getting tissues. It did make a difference – with him. He was still giving life even in his death.’’

A memorial service for McGreivy is scheduled for Thursday June 17 at 3 p.m. at the Bethesda Theatre at 7719 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda. The family has set up a memorial fund in honor of McGreivy that will fund educational scholarships for excellence and intellectual curiosity in science, mathematics and economics. In lieu of flowers, our family will request donations to this fund.

Monday, June 21, 2010

MEP Partner and Friend

One of the few bright spots in this tragic time has been the opportunity to get to better know Mike and Denise Cetta. They are truly wonderful people. They both spent three hours at my house going through family photos to make the memorial videos and then put together a bike rack I had ordered. When Mike came back to pick up additional photos, he added a right click to Thai's Mac, valiantly attempted to fix my basement shower before family came, and figured out how to work our ridiculously complicated media system, something that only Thai truly understood before. (To save money, Thai had bought our projection TV directly from Japan. So yes, all the buttons on the projector and the remote are labelled in Japanese which never bothered Thai, but makes using it a guessing game for the rest of us.) So thank you to you both for all you've done for us and I hope you're having a wonderful time in Italy. This was Mike's speech at the memorial:

Hey Thai.

We are all puzzled how this could happen to a man like you. I know it is no surprise but you will be missed by your partners, your friends, your mom, Jesse, Kat, and perhaps most of all, by your sons. We are all going to miss you.

You were an interesting man. I’m not sure anyone truly understood you – but everyone appreciated how you thought, who you were. Your uniqueness, your passion.

At times I thought I knew you well – I could guess when you would speak up in a meeting. I knew your car was a mess and your shoes were old. I knew you’d be late for your shifts, your scrubs wouldn’t be tucked in and your white coat wouldn’t be so white. You’d have a 20 ounce coffee and probably some Chipotle. Before you’d start working you’d engage me in a conversation I had little understanding of – world economy or fractals – I’d go off to my shift in a haze of awe and confusion at the power of your intellect. I felt a great sense of accomplishment if I could simply grasp PART of what you were talking about… it was a real victory for me.

I don’t know if you put sugar in your coffee or when you went to bed – but I do know your mind never slept.

Forgive me for a moment while I indulge your guests here today. I saw your computer last week and couldn’t help to smile when I saw your desktop. Not too surprising…a graph.

And I can’t help myself to show everybody this photo I took last year. I looked into your briefcase and saw a tangle of cords. Hoisting it high, I took this priceless photograph at arms length. A pen, 3 sets of headphones, a mouse and a yo-yo…now if that isn’t quintessential Thai…

Thank you for our time together. Our bike rides through Poolesville and a two-hour education on the global debt crisis and how China owns the US. Or our run on the Eastern Shore and the tale of your mother’s childhood. Thank you for telling it like it is. Thank you for keeping us all honest. Thank you for keeping us intellectually engaged.

I suppose the irony behind all this is that it wouldn’t have been a surprise to you – perhaps you could have predicted it. You’d have some sort of graph, somewhere, tucked away.

Thank you for being a friend and a mentor. Thank you for being an intellectually curious person. I want to thank you for being an amazing son and brother. I want to thank you for being a tremendous husband to your wife and father to your sons. You’ve made a contribution to this world and your legacy will last. You, Thai, are not just another dot on the graph or statistical point (although you may have argued otherwise). You are unique and your soul will live on.

We will carry you with us forever my friend. We love you.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Remembrance for a son-in-law

My father and Thai shared a special bond. Able to spar intellectually and both loving active and outdoor activities, they became as close as a father and son, especially after Thai's dad died seven years ago. My father, Matthews Bradley, spoke of his 22 years getting to know Thai.

My main purpose in speaking is to tell you all a little bit about the love and times I shared with Thai for more than 20 years now. Before that though I want to express my appreciation and awe of you here who have given such extraordinary support and love to Katherine and the boys in their time of need. Your community and Thai’s colleagues are remarkable. Thank you.

I first met Thai in Los Angeles when he was in medical school and Katherine was in law school at UCLA. I was out in CA for a meeting of the AACR and stopped by to see Katherine. She wanted me to meet Thai and implied that this was a “serious relationship.” I instantly liked him, thought he was fun, funny, bright, inquisitive, a great conversationalist, and handsome. A keeper I thought, and said so to Katherine. She seemed pleased that we both took to each other. I know some people never seem to bond or even like their sons or daughters in law. That thought never occurred to me—I thought they were perfectly matched the first time I saw them together.

Then they both went to Seattle for the summer with Thai doing a rotation and Katherine interning at a law firm. I was in Seattle at another conference and we all went hiking with a colleague of mine from graduate school who was then a professor in the med school at UW. I remember Stan telling me: “I wish my future son-in-law was more like Thai.” That was the effect Thai had even on people who didn’t know him well.

The next time I met Thai was at Katherine’s law school graduation when Lynne and I both came to LA. I was pleased and proud that she had won so many honors at her school and equally as pleased that Thai was still very much a part of her life. Lynne and I remember Thai driving us around LA and showing us the sights in his Dad’s Mercedes. He had a pony tail then and looked very hip and LA and really knew the city. Katherine, Thai, Lynne, and I met Thai’s father and step-mom Pat at some cool LA restaurant I can’t remember the name of, but we had a great time with them.

I remember when Katherine was staying with us at the farm over Christmas and was wondering what to do about Thai who wasn’t sure he wanted to get married just then. Do men ever come clean? We encouraged her to tell him that marriage was what she wanted and to ask for a commitment from him. After this, Thai came into town for his residency interviews at Johns Hopkins and George Washington and stayed with us. During this time, Thai said he would like to invite Lynne and me to Blues Alley for a night on the town in appreciation for our hospitality. I told him we’d love to do it, but that he owed us nothing. He said no, no, he insisted on treating us. Fine. What a great fellow I thought. Little did I intuit that a second motivation was that he was going to ask me formally for Katherine’s hand in marriage. After he asked in the most sincere and heart-felt words and tones, I smiled, hugged him and said of course, yes, we will be delighted to have you in our family.

After Katherine accepted his proposal, Thai had started his internship and residency at Johns Hopkins and came to live with us in an au pair suite we had on our farm. We like to think we made his life a little easier while under the intense pressure of internship and residency. All he had to do was come home, eat what we left for him if he didn’t make dinner, flop into bed, and go around again. When he was off, we would have a great time going out in our boat, canoeing on the lake near us, or going into DC, or to restaurants or often, drinking some wine and staying up late talking into the night about science, medicine, politics, humanism, religion (and our discontents about it)—but, of course, that was before he was captured by fractals and the dismal science—economics.

Three months later, after she finished her clerkship, Katherine joined Thai to live with us and they both commuted in opposite directions, Katherine to DC and her law job at Wilmer, and Thai continuing his residency at Hopkins. Again Lynne and I loved having them live with us and were sorry when, after six months more, they moved to their own place in Bethesda. Of course, we understood why they did it and would have done the same ourselves, if we had been them.

All of us together next planned their wedding which we wanted to have at our farm with a horse drawn carriage and an open bar on the veranda facing the driveway as they drove up from the little Episcopal country church where they were married. It was a beautiful but hot August afternoon and night, and a great party, and I was sorry when it was over. We had relatives and friends of ours and theirs and Carol’s and Ed’s coming from far and wide. The next day we took the wedding party to the Chesapeake for a fast tour of St. Michaels in our boat.

After their marriage, they both worked at their careers. I was proud of them and how hard they worked and had formed a solid union that gave all of us a great deal of pleasure just watching. Thai and Katherine paid us back very quickly the down payment we had lent them to buy their house. Thai was quite proud of that and so was I.

What seems very soon after that: Nicholas came along and then Luke and Kyle and then James. Lynne became pregnant and we added Claire to our family only nine months before James, so, a true multi-generational family.

I remember that Nick was fascinated by big machines and knew the names of more of them than I did by the time he was three. I remember taking him and then Luke, Kyle, and James for rides on the big farm tractor we had with Thai cheering them on. We put each of the boys on a horse with Thai holding the boys and me leading the horse. Katherine didn’t always know or approve if she saw us.

I always looked forward to knowing that Thai would be coming to our family gatherings. Often, and somewhat to Katherine’s chagrin, Thai and I would grab some wine and spend hours talking about medicine or politics or lately economics and fractals and Niall Ferguson or Sam Harris or Richard Dawkins. He was always curious about my biotech ventures and would ask one incisive question after another. One trip I’ll never forget happened after Thais’ father Denis died and I had just bought a boat in Florida that I needed help bringing up the waterway. Thai volunteered to accompany me and we together piloted it up the Intracoastal and offshore. Out in the Atlantic we saw dolphins, sharks, and a whale. We had a blast getting to know each other even more and continuing our endless conversations. It was special for both of us.
There’s a lot more I could say, but those are the early highlights

In summary: I don’t have enough positive adjectives, verbs, or nouns to express what I feel about my son-in–law. Among the ones that stand out:

Brilliant—yes, one of the brightest men I ever knew

Moral: yes, he had an inherent sense of what was right and wrong

Humanist: yes, he loved all mankind with all our warts and flowers, and worked to make everyone better.

Intense and focused: yes, and these are qualities that gets things done and that make the world a better place.

Scientist: yes, one who knew how to ask the incisive question and then figure a way to answer it.

And then his family values: love and respect for all of us—I never heard him say anything unkind about anyone,

I will miss him more that I can say.

Thank you.

Remembrance for a father

I don't think I need to say that while my heart aches for me, it breaks for my boys. The magnitude of their loss staggers me. I also don't know if I've ever been more proud of them: their bravery, their open grief, their ability to continue living and enjoying life as their father would have wished. All four participated in a candle ceremony at the memorial service where they each lit their candle from the light of a larger candle symbolizing how their father's light would continue through them. Nicholas, 14, also spoke:

I’m going to start with a story written by Thai’s mother, my grandmother, Susan:

"When Thai was thirteen years old I managed to get enough money together to buy three tickets to Hawaii. We had very few resources so we three, Thai, Jesse and Mom had most of our belongings - a stove, a small tent, our food and other necessities - in a very large backpack. We could not afford, nor did we really want to stay in a hotel. During our short stay on the Islands we decided together to hike a trail on the wet side of Kaui’i. It was a very beautiful trail running along the coastline with the mountains, green and lush, rising up the windward side. We were seeking and eventually found a beautiful waterfall several miles up the coast which splashed into a large pond. The trail ran up and down numerous small hills. I was carrying the large pack, and struggling under its load. Thai and Jesse were walking ahead of me. Suddenly, Thai who was only slightly taller than me appeared at my side. He reached over in his ever so gentle way, my Ferdinand the Bull, and took the backpack off my shoulders. He turned to me and said, “Mom I’ll carry the load now.” And, he did, he always did. When I heard other parents complain about their teenage boys, I could never understand their complaints because my Thai and my Jesse only ever “carried the load.”"

Dad has always carried the load for me. He came to all of my sports games he could, worked 12 hour shifts, helped me in my schoolwork, and taught me almost everything I know about the world, and these are only just the first things that come to mind. But I know that everything he taught me and gave me will give me the strength to carry the load myself.

Every night before my dad tucked me in to bed, he would ask me the same four questions. This nightly routine turned into a ritual which became something I looked forward to every night and something I have dearly missed over the past 2 weeks. I would just like to say them with my dad one last time. “Who do I love?" You love me. "Who’s a good boy?" I am. "Who am I proud of?" You are proud of me. "And who do you love?" I love you dad. I will always love you.

Remembrance for a beloved husband and partner

After I read my tribute at Thai's memorial service, I had many people say they couldn't believe that I could get up there in front of the 750 people who attended and do that. I didn't see how I couldn't. I put on what Thai would have called a "kick ass" dress and did my best to honor the deep love we shared for 22 years. There are so many facets to a relationship that long and that significant, but I kept going back in my mind to that magical time when you realize you may have found "the one" with all its attendant joys and uncertainties. So that's what I wrote about:

You all know Thai as a loving father, an outstanding physician, a dedicated partner, a faithful friend and a brilliant mind. To me, he was all that, but also something unique: my husband, my co-parent, my best friend, and most of all the love of my life. I can never capture everything he meant to me, but in this time, when he is always in my thoughts, I often find myself reaching back in time to remember the very beginning of the life journey that Thai and I shared when I was so crazy in love that just the thought of him or the mention of his name turned my stomach into a mass of twisting butterflies and I couldn’t eat. Bizarrely, my body had a similar reaction during the whole unbearable ordeal of losing Thai: I couldn’t eat and my stomach was a mess.

Now the first reaction was from great joy; the second from great sadness and grief, but the physical manifestation was surprisingly similar. Somehow it brought me back, way back, 22 years ago to the very beginning of our journey together. The first time I ever saw Thai is crystallized like a diamond in my mind. It was a beautiful day and he was sitting in the hot California sun in the UCLA law school courtyard with his legs sort of crossed and half up on the table. I’m sure any of you who have been a meeting with him know exactly what I’m talking about. We had a mutual friend and she had told me she thought we’d be perfect together. Now whether that was because she truly thought we were soul mates or merely because we were both Birkenstock wearing hippies from Berkeley, I don’t know. But the moment I saw him sitting there, it was like a bolt of energy went through me. He looked up at me with those brilliant green eyes, a slight razor stubble and gave me a lazy smile. I wasn’t quite sure what to make of the corresponding stubble on his legs, not being a biker, but I was a goner nevertheless.

Two days later I was taking the Santa Monica bus home when Thai unexpectedly got on. I can still see him walking towards me with his floppy brown hair, his brilliant smile and those killer green eyes. It had been his birthday and someone had given him some Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee. It will surprise no one to know that by the end of the ride I knew all about the intricacies of cultivating this rare and expensive type of coffee. As he got off at his stop, he casually invited me over for a cup sometime. He later told me, he never thought I’d actually come. That was Friday. On Saturday, there I was, knock knock on his door. He wasn’t there and his roommate told me he had gone to climb Mt. Whitney with some friends and would be back on Sunday. Gorgeous, charming AND adventurous? Sunday I was back, knock knock, and this time he was there.
The rest, as they say, is history. I never (and kids this was before cell phones let you know where everyone was 24/7) ran into him just by accident on the bus even though we took the same bus for the following three years, so fate smiled on us that time. Now if you’ve ever heard this story from Thai, he tells it this way: "Kat picked me up on the bus and then just kept pursuing me relentlessly . . . " It was definitely unusual for me because I’m not an extrovert like Thai, but even in the beginning he had a way of pushing me outside my comfort zone. Whether we were taking a month long back pack trip through civil war torn Guatemela, taking the kids cave diving in Mexico, or he was convincing me to buy a boat sight unseen off e-bay, life with Thai was always an adventure.

It was also a life full of an enveloping love. When we started dating, I immediately became aware of how intensely and openly Thai loved his family. “Love you Jess, Love you Dad, Love you mom” ended every phone call. I knew right away that being the recipient of that kind of love would be a powerful and unforgettable experience. For the past 22 years it has been. Now tragically and for reasons that are far beyond my ability to make sense of the world, my sons and I have lost the physical presence of that love. But we will never ever lose the experience of being blessed by the strength of Thai’s love. Thai, I miss you so much, but the boys and I are strong and we will make you proud of us. We love you and you will live in our hearts forever.

Remembrances from a friend and neighbor

This post by Thai's friend Bob Carden is in the spirit of the Monty Python post put up by Dink. Thai, wherever his spirit resides, was laughing the hardest. But it was so good for all of us to have those laughs during such a sad time. EMC--what a legacy! Someone said to me that Bob Carden is sometimes called the mayor of Edgemoor (our neighborhood), but Thai was its heart. Beautiful thought that stuck with me, but obviously there are so many wonderful hearts in our neighborhood (but don't worry, Bob, just one mayor!). Here it is.

As most of you know Thai’s intellectual curiosity, extended far beyond medicine. He loved politics, philosophy economics. Over the years he and I had a number of spirited debates. He was a bit of a righty, I go left. And our debates were increasingly animated, depending on how many “refreshments” we had that evening.

Several years ago, on a particularly “refreshing” evening, Thai and I were going at it. We discussed de’Tocqueville’s Democracy in America, argued the merits of Keynesian economics in propping up the economy, and finally, perhaps most critically, postulated on which country club members had the most surgical enhancements ….I think Tom Craver and Greg Doll joined the discussion about then, whenever the subject goes to that level you can usually count on Craver and Doll being close by

Anyway, at that moment Thai had an epiphany. He recognized that the collective shallowness of many of his Edgemoor friends demanded a forum where they could discuss these and other pressing questions. And as Greg told him, the woman have the PTA, bookclub, but what of the neglected, lonely Edgemoor man who spoke for us----I’ll tell you who: Thai Mcgreivy.

Within two days Thai had put together a large email database and selected a selection of bars where we’d meet. Thus EMC, the Edgemoor Men’s Club was born

Now cynics out there might say EMC was just an excuse for a bunch of slightly pathetic middle aged men to go to repair to the neighborhood tavern, have a couple of beers, watch sports, tell lies. And you know what, you’d be right.

But it was also more than that, because we had Thai running the show. It was not an ordained event until Thai showed up. Once he did it was like 6 degrees of Thai McGreivy. Thai wanted to make sure everyone was getting along, the circle was expanding.

His was never a simple introduction, Thai knew something about you, your kids, to provoke a conversation. I refer to Thai as the charismatic catalyst. Causing things to happen, having a blast doing it. His presence was large and central. And always met you with the comment, “All is well?” Not hello, or how are you but “All is well?” And he always had that open hand to greet you. When he shook that hand it was open, like him.

Katherine, I know the doctor thing worked out pretty well for Thai, and the rest of us, we’ve been going to him for years for advice. But I think the perfect job for Thai would have been maitre’d at a big restaurant. Can’t you see him doing that, greeting people, holding court. Perfect Thai gig….

Anyway our silly little EMC jaunts will go on, as will our Sunday barbecues at the club and, watching our kids and Thai’s kids swim this summer, at those country clubs. But it’s not the same. It can’t be. You just don’t get over losing someone like Thai—his presence was too large—his star shone too bright. But you do adjust to it—those first couple of days everyone in our neighborhood were walking around like zombies. I saw Carrie Hurd, Chris Gilson, red eyed, speechless. But that’s starting to change, we are adjusting and one reason is the remarkable woman Thai married. Katherine was over at the club Sunday night, composed, engaged, easy going as ever. We’re supposed to be strong for Katherine. It’s the other way around.

Finally, the outpouring here is directly proportionate to how much Thai was liked, loved and admired. Nick, kids you have to understand nobody in the community was looked up to like your father, nobody.

So Thai, all is well. And one more thing buddy. I have the last word. It was Congressional.

Videos from Thai's memorial

The videos posted at the following site were shown at Thai's memorial service and lovingly put together by Thai's partner and friend Mike Cetta with the help of his wife Denise. They did an incredible job and I am so grateful.


Saturday, June 19, 2010

Memories of a Teenage Thai

Thanks for setting up this site. I attended Thai's memorial service yesterday. It was just a beautiful ceremony. Very emotional, yet a wonderful celebration of the life of a very special man. So much planning went into it by so many people (I had nothing to do with it. Just showed up 10 minutes before the event). It was attended by what seemed to be hundreds of people. The entire Bethesda Theater was filled. The community that he and his family lived in really stepped up to support the family.

As one of his childhood friends, I was asked to say a few words. Katherine asked me to post my speech to this site. I will do so in the next comment. As background, I met Thai at boarding school 29 years ago. We also worked at the same job, the summer after our Freshman year in college, working for CalPIRG in Los Angeles. There was a great group of idealistic kids working to pass the bottle bill in California.

Each of us went knocking on the doors of thousands of strangers' homes that summer asking for money (political donations, for which we got paid a commission) and letters in support of the bill. Probably got turned down 90%+ of the time. Sometimes doors slammed in our faces or we were threatened with guns or dogs. But there were also wonderful people who invited us in out of the hot sun for a cup of ice tea or milk & cookies while they were getting out their checkbooks. Thai was persistent. Kept going and going. That's the way he was his whole life. We went out just about every night that summer and did trips to Joshua Tree and other camping areas in SoCal. It was a summer to remember.

My last dinner with Thai (and Katherine) was on May 4, less than a month before his heart attack. My family was in the DC area for my wife's 25th high school reunion so it was just a fluke that we got to see each other. It's surreal that he's gone. He will be missed by so many people. Most of all, by his family.

I'd like to start by reading something I wrote to Thai on his Facebook Wall.
"Goodbye my friend. We cried for you but we will try to be strong. I still have this vivid image of you dancing...gettin' down low to Rock Lobster almost 30 years ago at Will Hall in Andover. Dark background. Strobe lights flashing. You were this cool dude from SoCal. I also have this mental image of you with a smile on your face, wind blowing through your hair...taking your shiny new boat out for a spin. You were so proud of your latest toy; bought on eBay, sight unseen. After the last dinner we had together...I remember thinking that we would have so many more chances to catch up and reminisce...until we were old farts. Not to be. But I will always have the memories. Thanks for being such a good friend and for always being your unique self."
I just love that Rock Lobster image of Thai. He was Nick’s age, about to turn 15 during our first Fall at Andover.
It's funny how the mind works. Of all the parties, dances and songs in my life, I remember so clearly the one with Thai.
Thai always made an impression because he was unique.
There was a saying that some of his friends used at Andover. He would do something - sometimes silly, sometimes a bit shocking - and the story would get told - and we would all just say "that is so Thai."
It was fun to hang out with him because he was up for anything; always ready for a new adventure.
Thai was never too old or too macho to cry, to hug or to kiss. He had that inner strength to allow himself be vulnerable. He was willing to put himself out there and willing to open up the possibility of rejection, pain or failure.
He was charming, especially to older people and to all parents. He was always social. But it was only recently that I learned about his blogging and online social activities.
One of his blogging buddies wrote that he could be infuriating. But his sincerity and charm were obvious, even to those who had never met him face to face.
Sometimes, it felt as though we never agreed on anything because he was a skeptic. He didn't blindly accept other people's ideas. He had his own opinions and he was willing to defend his position to the end.
Thai may have been skeptical, but he was no cynic. He believed in ideas - often very passionately, he believed in himself and he believed in people. He may not have been religious, but he was a man of faith.
Thai had faith most of all in the people he loved. Growing up, he was so close to his parents and to his brother Jesse that it definitely made an impression on me.
I also remember visiting Thai in LA, 20 years ago, not long after he met Katherine. I knew he was a goner. She was quite the catch and he knew it.
So I was not surprised to see them get married; what was surprising, however, were the four boys and that crazy remodeling project!
Through life's ups and downs, Thai's devotion to Katherine and the life they were building together grew even stronger.
During our last dinner together, he was looking forward to their next phase of parenthood - the teenage years. My wife observed that he seemed fascinated by the intellectual challenge of it.
He loved his boys. He loved how unique they were and loved talking about each of them. His eyes lit up that night talking his boys; we talked for hours.
Over this past week, I've been trying to make some sense of what’s happened and wondered what he might have wanted me say to his beloved boys.
I think that Thai might say to Nick, Luke & Kyle, and James - there are many things in life that are beyond your control but what will define you are the choices that you make.
Your father chose to be adventurous;
he chose to be curious;
he chose to be an independent thinker;
he chose to be passionate and to pursue his passions;
to be vulnerable;
to be honest; and
to be loving and kind.
I know that he had faith in you. If he were alive, he would very much want you to make your own choices; but I hope that as you grow up, you’ll learn to appreciate the choices that he made and the life he led.
I'll end with one last story. During dinner at one point, he blurted out, pointing his finger at me, "you're a Facebook whore!"
Of the 877 so called "friends" I have on Facebook, he is the only person who would say such a thing. That was so Thai!
He was right, of course. He was always honest.
Any of us would be lucky to know just a handful of special people that we can call a true friend.
Thai was such a person.
I will miss him; and I will always remember him.

(e-mail from Ho Nam)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Thai Was A Huge Monty Python Fan....

In this sad time we must take care to remain a bit mischievous. As I believe he would've wanted :)

Remembrances From A Neighbor

My heartfelt condolences to you and your family. I'm sure you're
having your share of heavy conversations so as I see you out and about
I'll try to stick to the small, everyday, shoot the breeze talk. We
really do ache for you and your family but feel kind of powerless to
express it.

From my neighborly vantage, I thought I could share some of my
remembrances and interactions with Thai. Foremost, aside from Thai's
all-around friendly disposition and usual wearing of a smile, a
defining impression he left with me was his immense intellectual
curiosity. I don't pretend to know the whole of Thai, but I had a
small window into his intellectual curiosity through some of my
interactions with him. Thai knew that I had some connection to the
finance industry, so on occasion he'd see me as a sparring partner for
some idea he was exploring or interested in through one of the
economic blogs, sites or books he was studying up on.

At least with me, Thai had this uncanny knack of taking me from
"Hello, how's it going?" to 30 seconds later my finding myself in the
deep end of some conversation with him on the housing and credit
bubble, health care reform, an impending financial crisis, an abstract
theory or simply a recommendation of some non-fiction book he was
reading. As you well know Thai was drawn to these iconoclastic
economic blogs and sites with views on the economy and a possible
financial meltdown that at the time were well outside of the
mainstream of the opinion of economists and financial actors.

Most of my conversations with him on these topics took place two and
even three years ago, mostly before the financial meltdown. He'd come
bounding out of the house looking for J.J. and then get distracted
with an idea that was in his head and see me as a willing participant.
He'd share some of the dialogue he was having or absorbing on many of
these economic blogs. There was a fair amount of gloom and doom, and
prospects for an impending meltdown and why x, y and z factor would
bring this about. While it was just idle chat, I worked in an
industry where actually acting on this would have been useful. I
wouldn't say I was dismissive of the arguments, but I had this false
comfort in what proved also to be a falsehood that somewhere there had
to be some Grown-Up in charge in the financial markets or in
Government who should know more and wasn't about to let any of this
happen. And after one of these conversations, Thai would jokingly
claim that he was stocking up on ammo and canned food in his basement
for Armageddon.

So to give you an idea of where our conversations went they ranged
from financial markets to more esoteric and abstract ideas like Black
Swans and fractals. We got into the topic because we had both read
and liked an author Nassim Taleb who wrote "Black Swans." A Black
Swan is a rare, unexpected yet highly impactful event (good or bad).
Rather than being shaped by the tides of everyday life, history and
our own lives could be dominated by these outlying, and highly
impactful Black Swans. Of this theory, Thai was well aware. He
recommended and lent to me an earlier book by the same author called
"Fooled by Randomness," a book about luck and skill (and the confusing
of the two) and probability and randomness. And both books dealt with
fractals. I liked the book so much it took me 12 months to return it
and I probably read it 4 or 5 times over that span. Some of the
concepts from this book that Thai introduced me to have had a profound
effect in how I now approach my business life.

But Thai was biggest into fractals and could see them everywhere. I
can't really do the explanation justice but a fractal is like a tree
to a branch (or maybe a parent to an offspring) where the subset is a
miniature replica of the whole, not identical but similar. Some
systems are fractal in nature where there is an interconnectedness and
property to them like the weather, financial markets, populations,
natural systems and even human relations whereby the system has a
propensity to be sensitive to the initial conditions and then become
unpredictable over time. And unlike a simple linear row of dominoes
where one precipitating event initiates a, more or less, equal event,
in a fractal system each event amplifies the condition with each
iteration to the point where the entire system becomes unstable and
unpredictable. This is also known as the "butterfly effect," whereby
a butterfly flapping its wings in India can give rise to a hurricane
in some remote area like Florida. Hence, the interconnectedness of
seemingly small random events.

My interactions with Thai centered on this intellectual side, but
here's the subtle transition to the more human side. The financial
meltdown of which he was forewarning actually happened. Thai also
later came to know that my company folded and I was out of work as a
result of these same forces. And then the conversations on this topic
which had been frequent pretty much ceased. Now the truth is I
wouldn't have minded had they continued. But Thai didn't know that.
I think his empathetic side took over and he figured, "Who wants to
hear I told you so?" so he just let it be unsaid.

(E-mail to Katherine from neighbor E.S.)

Friday, June 11, 2010

In Memoriam: Thai McGreivy

Dr. Thai McGreivy, a regular commenter on this blog, passed away on Sunday night after unexpectedly suffering a massive heart attack the previous Monday.

Thai made many friends here; though I didn't get to meet him face to face, I greatly appreciated and respected his insightful, passionate and often humorous remarks on the issues presented in Sudden Debt. He was my friend.

For me, his enduring legacy will always be fractals, a subject that I was only vaguely familiar with until Thai explained that our world's complex beauty can be best described through the simple elegance of fractal mathematics. He used a picture of the Mandelbrot set as his avatar to keep reminding us of the importance of fractals in everyday life. It wasn't long before I, too, started discovering fractals everywhere, from a bush on the side of the road where I went biking (a passion that we apparently both shared), to persistently similar fluctuations in financial markets. In fact, I was working on a piece called Fractal Finance when I was told of his untimely passing.

But I will always have a much more personal, emotional and lasting appreciation of Thai. You see, some weeks ago I presented fractals to Sofie, the love of my life. Sofie is, among other things, an extremely gifted and talented artist whose paintings are eerily evocative of fractal images. As soon as she saw the infinite sequence of images generated by the simple formula zn+1 = zn2 + c tears of joy came to her eyes. "I have always known of this deep within me" she said, "I am so happy to see it before my eyes. Thank you so much."

Thank you Thai. We shall always remember you.

An Image Generated From The Mandelbrot Set

(by Hellasious; Here is a link to the original