Passing it on

A dear friend died this week. We come to expect this when we reach a certain age: People near our own age, or younger, die, and for us, life goes on. We mourn our loss but celebrate our friend’s life just ended here on earth. But has it truly ended?

Barbara Jean McClain Clyde, educated in piano performance at Birmingham Southern, joined its faculty, winning honors and performing with the Birmingham Symphony. She served as a church organist and choral accompanist and taught at Peabody College for Teachers in Nashville. In Chapel Hill, while raising a family, she taught piano in her home, directed a children’s choir, and served on the board of the local music teachers’ association. In her spare time, she performed abroad in Austria, Canada, France, Great Britain, Hawaii, Norway, Scotland and Switzerland. She performed with The FourMost, a two-piano, four-person piano ensemble that performed in the Chapel Hill area for 20 years.

Mrs. Clyde lived on earth for 86 years. During her memorial service, some of her piano students, now adults, rose to testify to the effects of her teaching on their lives. They expressed their gratitude for her positive influence with them that will remain with them for the rest of their lives. They remain deeply affected by her high standards, her passion for music, her compassion, her sense of humor, her love of teaching and especially her love for her students.

This is how we aspire to conduct our lives, to live in such a way that when we leave this earth, we leave behind those profoundly important parts of ourselves that we share with others who lives cross our path during our journey. We continue to live in then because we pass it on.

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