November 2, 2007

Wayne's Spark

I first met Wayne in my very first class in Family Social Science, and transfered quickly into that program. His humor, and spark make the class an incredible experience. I later found myself excited about research, thanks to Wayne. I cannot thank him enough for his patience, his openness, his warmth, his humor, his em-passioned disposition, his help, his guidance, his dreams that he was kind enough to let me and others be a part of and his kind being. Wayne had a presence and spark I will never forget. Thank you Wayne for letting me journey with you for a while and encouraging me to explore my own.

Bridget Pollack-Naber

October 25, 2007

Note from Joel Imrie

Being a male student in the Family Social Science Department, it was
difficult to find my place. Going to Dr. Caron's lectures was inspiring,
entertaining, and above all intellectual. He showed me pride and honor and
I will always remember him.

Joel Imrie
Family Social Science Graduate 2006
Americorps NCCC Member 2007

October 23, 2007

Words from Martha Tonn

Wayne. You were a jewel, a gem. When we were teenagers you were already the caretaker, the warm friend, the sweetest of hearts. I was blessed to meet your family. I wish them all strength and gentleness. May all of us find that as time passes our memories will feel less bitter-tainted by your loss-and more sweet. Goodbye my friend.

Note from Karen Irvin

I first met Wayne when he came to Hennepin County Domestic Relations as part of a research team studying "Conflict Resolution Counseling," (which evolved into mediation services for separating and divorcing families.) His intelligence and knack for research were immediately clear; but he combined them with humor and warmth that later led to him being hired to provide services to these families.

Wayne became "family" to me when he and my niece married and had a son, Christopher. Although we did not see each other often, as our work was taking us in different directions, we were able to connect a few times every year, either at family or professional events. It was always a warm, enthusiatic reunion, laced with humor and memories of our days at "DR."

The other thing I will always remember about Wayne is his assistance as I attempted to complete my doctorate. I don't know if I still hold the record (I believe my good friend Cara Beames may be in competition!!), but it was a long, slow process for me to decide and then complete the dissertation. Wayne assured me that I could do it and that he could help. He made the research and statistical components clear and even fun to sort out and understand. He relieved my anxiety about a process in which I felt less than adequate, and, again, he always did so with humor and respect.

I am sad to think that I will not be seeing the twinkle in Wayne's eyes as he smiled and laughed and that I will no longer hear his "take" on developments in the field of marriage and family therapy.

Fondly, Karen Irvin

Note from Szu-Yi Peng

I knew Wayne from the very beginning of my time in the Family Social Science department. He interviewed me when I was applying to the MFT program. I thank him for presenting my case to the faculty and got me admitted to the program. Wayne invited me to do co-therapy in his private practice and be invovled in the Family Caregiving Center, when he knew that I needed some clinical hours to complete my master's requirement. I thank him for reaching out his hands to me when help was very much needed. After I completed my hours, I stopped going to the FCC for a period of time. But he continued to check in with me about how I was doing. I thank him for genuinely showing that he cared about me as an international student in the program. When I decided not to TA for him because of personal reason and he needed to find someone else in the last minute, he supported me through my difficult time even if I created inconveniences in his work. I thank him for his understanding and great encouragement.

I may not be able to pay Wayne back directly for what he did for me, but I will definitely carry on what he has taught me about being a daughter, a student, a therapist, and a teacher. His spirit will definitely be living in my heart forever.

Szu-Yi Peng (St. Paul, MN)

October 18, 2007

Words from Kathryn Mitchell

Today as I watched the sweaty, suffering masses run the Twin Cities marathon, I remembered the last time I saw Wayne. He was at the marathon with a group of folks cheering on a woman who was running for her impaired father, and raising funds for Wayne's Caregiving Center programs. I was struck today by both the absence and the presence of Wayne now. Somehow he is always there and yet there is this hole of absence left by his sudden death. The challenge left, for those of us who had the great honor to know him, will be to live in a way that honors his life. One of his childhood friends talked of his constant effort to not just be himself, but to improve. He constantly worked on himself and worked with his families and clients in just this same very caring and thoughtful way. Somehow his legacy has got to be about this unusual characteristic. No more "This is just who I am", rather I am working toward being, deeper, more thoughtful, caring, more loving, more human.....
-Kathryn Mitchell (Saint Paul, MN)

October 10, 2007

Message from Heidi Stone

I just got word, almost 2 months later...but it doesnt make it less shocking.

Its been some time that Ive been in Dr. Caron's classes, but the impression he left is still with me. He was a great professor and one could tell it was definately his passion, teaching and reaching out to others. He had a huge heart and always lended an ear, as so many professors in FSoS do. I feel extremely blessed to have known him and my hope is his family knows how many lives he really did touch.

October 7, 2007

Words from Hope

Wayne, your loving kindness will always go with me.

September 20, 2007

Words from K Staehle

I am absolutely shocked to hear of Dr. Caron's passing. He was by far one of the best professors that I have ever had. I took his "Intimate Relations" class my sophmore year when I had no idea what I wanted to major in, and 2 1/2 years later I left the U with a degree in FSoS. His was a brilliant teacher and a wonderful person, and I am a better person for having met him.
My thoughts and prayers are with his family.

K Staehle (Plymouth, MN)

September 16, 2007

The Complete Artist

Like Leonardo da Vinci, Wayne Caron combined the unique talents of the curious scientist and the passionate artist (therapist) to help people paint brighter futures for themselves. He also wasn't afraid to try new hues (methods) to make the pictures more colorful. And for added measure, they were both left-handed!

--by anonymous

September 15, 2007

Words from Erika Hess

Dr. Caron's passion for teaching was evident during each class. He challenged me to dig deeper, think bigger and write more professionally. I can say without a doubt he is one of the few teachers that challenged me so diligently and to this day, I am grateful. Although the last day I saw Dr. Caron was when I completed my Family Psychology class, his memory has remained with me. I no longer see families and relationships through the same lens, or my own family for that matter. Everyday I am reminded of the truths he revealed to me about family dynamics. I constantly find myself bringing him and his lectures up in conversation. He completely altered the way I will pursue my career. I guess you could say he changed a life. But it appears that he had that effect on many. I am blessed to have known him.

Erika Hess (San Diego, CA)

September 10, 2007

Wayne Caron's Spirit Lives On

Wayne's death is not only shocking, but represents a great loss to our Family Social Science family. I first met Wayne when he was an undergraduate in psychology and I hired him to work on a Divorce Mediation Project at Hennepin County. Since then, I have watched him grow and mature to become a professor in Family Social Science. He was not only a competent family professional, but a caring and compassionate person. He lived a life that is symbolic of giving to others and his spirit will always live on in the work that we do.

David Olson
Professor Emeritus, Family Social Science
President, Life Innovations, Inc.

September 8, 2007

Words from Kysa

I am greatly saddened by the news of Dr. Caron's passing. I have had many classes with him, and thought he was so love- filled, inspiring, and young at heart. My thoughts go out to his family and friends, My love is with you as we all keep this strong soul in our hearts, and in our minds that have all bennefited from such a wonderful person,
We will all miss you.

Kysa (Minneapolis, MN)

September 7, 2007

Not Your Ordinary Therapist (from anonymous)

My deepest sympathy goes out to Wayne’s family, friends, former students and
clients. I just found out the tragic news yesterday but wasn’t able to post
comments until today because I was in such deep sorrow. I had emailed him with
a question and when he didn’t reply, I thought he was on vacation. After
classes began, I thought he must have moved, for he always responded promptly.
Wayne always signed his letters by his first name only, for his distinguished
title didn’t go to his head. I don’t know what to add that hasn’t already been
eloquently noted on this blog. If all the people he had helped in some way knew
of his sudden passing, the postings could fill volumes of books. I wish more
people could have known him. Wayne was my therapist many years ago and I
learned so much from him. In addition to his deep compassion, intelligence, and
other skills as a therapist, he also adeptly used NLP and hypnosis to help me
cope and move forward. His pitch and tone were perfect
and his stories were powerful, thus following in the footsteps of Milton
Erickson. I also hope my posting will represent all of those who had Wayne as
their therapist but do not know of his passing.

Wayne, you touched so many lives. I miss you immensely. Your voice will go
with me.

September 6, 2007

Words from Jean Boos

Dr. Caron was a gifted and important person to our family during a time of intense sorrow and pain. I hope it is some solace for his family to know how much he helped others and touched their lives. I will always remember him in my prayers.

Jean Boos (St. Paul, MN)

September 4, 2007

Words from Tom Kempf

I knew Wayne from the days we were at St. Raphael’s. I started there in 7th grade when my family moved to Minnesota. Although it was a long time ago, I think Wayne and I hit it off from the start being a little on the bookish-geek side of things. In 8th grade we co-edited a newsletter “St. Raphael’s Highlights?.

We went to Cooper together graduating in 1974. Again my memory is sketchy but I think it was Wayne who talked me into joining the debate team for a year. We had many discussions about esoteric topics shaping my thoughts and leanings that I have today.

In the fall of 1974, Wayne, Barry Fick, a woman (who’s name escapes me) and I carpooled to the U. Wayne was a psychology major who dreaded the language requirement. I think he took French three times before he finally survived it. After the first year we moved down by campus. I think Wayne lived with John Bloomquist for a year or so. During those next three years we would meet in the basement of Coffman in the morning for coffee. Those mornings brought many more conversations on life, death, and everything in between. Wayne was a much better speller than I am and he would take my important papers and correct the spelling and grammar for me. I still have a folder that he wrote “Tom’s Paper? on. During this same period we both worked at St. Teresa’s Nursing home together which also led to many conversations.

In 1977 I was married and Wayne was our best man. Up until that point he never drove a car. In order to be best man, I forced him to learn to drive and take the test. After that I saw him in the mornings but graduation, kids and jobs came on pretty fast. I didn’t see him for a number of years until I found out he was working as a councilor at Hennepin County. We had lunch and decided to keep in touch. Of course life got in the way again. Then a few years ago, he saw my name on a list at the U where I was working on my own PhD and we had lunch a few times then lost contact again. I see his name on my contact list all the time and think I should send him an email and get together. Now it’s too late.

You always think you will have one more chance to talk to your oldest friends. I was shocked to hear about Wayne. We never really came to a conclusion in our debates about what happens in the end. Now I will just need to ponder without his input.

Tom Kempf

September 2, 2007

Words from Meghan Matteson

Dr. Caron was one of my professors my last year of college. I enjoyed his class tremendously. He really knew how to engage his students, and really truly cared about every one of us. We were blessed to have him in our lives. My thoughts and prayers are with Dr. Caron's family during this difficult time.

Meghan Matteson (Derosier) (Elk River, MN)

August 31, 2007

"I Knew Wayne a Long Time" -- from Jim Maddock

I realize that I knew Wayne a long time. We first met when I was consulting with the staff of Hennepin County Domestic Relations, where Wayne was working in the 1970s. My impression was of someone young and enthusiastic, with a good sense of humor; enthusiasm and humor are not easy to maintain when one is working in public agencies with troubled families. Most noticeable to me at that time—and confirmed by all of our later interactions—was Wayne’s insatiable curiosity; he was always eager to find things out and figure things out.

As a student in Family Social Science, that curiosity drove him to be a passionate class participant and eventually an avid researcher. Though he became quite skillful in working with numbers—even as a student, he was a resource for other students struggling with statistics—his top priority was always working with people. He informally assisted me on several projects where our interests overlapped. I know many others can attest to his generosity with his time and energy. But the most special times I had with Wayne were our theoretical discussions. We both loved to deal with abstract conceptualization. Even as a student Wayne was eager to ask difficult questions and to challenge the ideas of others; in my experience, he always did so respectfully and openly.

I had a special interaction with Wayne as a member of his dissertation committee. To be truthful, he wasn’t happy with me at his final oral exam. I insisted that he add to the concluding section of his dissertation before I would give my final approval. We met to talk about it, and, privately, I could tell him my justification very simply. I remember saying something like: “Wayne, you have previously shared with me some excellent critical thoughts and some extremely creative ideas about the potential utility of your research. But they are not in your dissertation. Why didn’t you include them?? The essence of his response was that some sort of modesty prevented him from giving voice to his ideas as a “mere graduate student,? and he thought it better to “play it safe.? I had never thought of Wayne as particularly modest when it came to his own ideas, but I understood. So we had a dialogue and settled on a compromise: He would add just a page or so summarizing a few things he had come up with that were a little more “out there.? Sometime later, he told me he appreciated my pushing him; in the end, it gave him some more confidence to use his doctoral research as a launching pad for future work. That certainly proved to be true in his development of the Family Caregiving Center.

In later years until my recent retirement from the University, Wayne and I enjoyed a collegial relationship typical of life in Family Social Science. We sat next to each other at some faculty meetings, served on various committees together, shared some tutoring of students, and occasionally had a conversation in depth when our limited time allowed it. But it seemed that one or both of us were always hurrying to be someplace, and our interchanges were more abbreviated than either or us would have liked.

I last saw Wayne earlier this summer when I drove past him walking near the St. Paul campus. We waved as I hurried on to do an errand. Now I wish I had stopped for one more conversation.

August 30, 2007

Words from Aria Elavsky

Dr. Caron was my professor a year and a half ago. During the last week of
class with him I had something very personal and tragic happen to me. It
caused me to miss my final. I expected to either just miss my final and
suffer the consequences or maybe, if he allowed, retake it as soon as I
could. I called him and to talk about this and I remember his empathy most.
He told me to take care of myself and my family and not to worry about the
final until I was ok. I remember his words "You don't even think about
school right now". I was so touched by this. I went to his office a week or
two later and finally took my last exam with him. He was an incredible
teacher who showed great sensitivity. He didn't seem like just another
professor, he seemed like a man with many great talents, one being

Reflections from Trish Olson

I would like to share with you some of my thoughts after attending Wayne Caron’s visitation last night. Wayne was a colleague in the Family Social Science Department and we “shared a wall? – in other words I was aware of his comings and goings and when he turned his music on a bit louder, when he sneezed, and when he laughed – which was often. I will miss my work neighbor.
Many of you do not know him – but there were things shared last night in his honor that feels right to share with all, for they tell a story of how to be a friend, colleague and parent. It is in his honor I share these thoughts.

These are some things I heard last night that I want to share with you – they are a bit random in order – but very meaningful to me.

o He stayed connected with people from his youth and young adulthood. He took the time to stay in touch with friends from high school and other friends he had for 20 – 30 years. He took the time to meet weekly and stay in touch. These friends talked about how much they valued this time together. One colleague shared that it was great to finally meet Wayne’s son who he heard about often, but had never met.

o Which brings up another theme of last night – Wayne’s sharing of his pride in his son Chris. People from all walks of his life were happy to finally meet the young man they had heard about – some since shortly after inception! People who were a part of the Family Caregiving Center talked about Wayne sharing about his son in his work with patients and family member of Alzheimer’s. He didn’t compartmentalize his life. All who knew or worked with him knew he was a proud father.

o Wayne also said to many he “divorced well.? His ex-wife Pam facilitated the memory sharing last night and shared how after their divorce they were good friends and their most important goal was to raise Chris together. It made me think about the importance of our work in the Parent’s Forever program.

o Many commented on the fact that clothing was not a priority to Wayne. Many chuckled at his mis-buttoning his shirts and frayed collars and pant hems. But, the overriding message was he was so good at what he did in teaching and therapy – that his clothing was NOT important to them. We often worry about “setting the table- or looking good? – but people will see through to your true self – if you care for those you are with and have quality information to share – folks will overlook much when they feel valued.

o He was not feeling well the last few weeks – his ribs really hurt. A funny story shared was that he could not find ace bandages – but he did have many unused ties…. He had shared with his son and ex-wife that he had bound his rib cage with multiple ties to help ease the pain. We chuckled at both the use of the ties, the image it gave us and it certainly showed how he perceived a “better? use of the ties than wearing them. It also made me think…. We all need to get medical care and take care of ourselves. It we don’t think we are getting the answers we feel comfortable to get additional perspectives.

o Wayne had a great sense of humor – a teaching assistance shared that during an Intimate Relations class (large class) he asked his two TAs to role play as a couple arguing and he would play the role of the therapist. Later on, prior to the role play, he asked the female TA, to reveal – out of the blue during the role play – that she was pregnant with another man’s child. He felt this would be not only funny (especially on the male TA) – but also realistic for things come out during therapy that are not anticipated. Many chuckled. You know we could have tasks we have we repeat often and turn our self on “remote control.? Wayne took pride in his classes that he taught and taught often and tried to make them fresh to him, his TAs and the students in the class.

o Wayne also didn’t just focus on work. He loved popular books and movies and enjoyed enjoying them with friends. People shared, “If I read a new book I wanted to talk to Wayne about it – for I was sure he had already read it and we could discus it.? There is more to our world than work and work topics. Sometimes we are better at our work because of our interests outside of work.

o Wayne saw a need and met it. Helping people who struggled with Alzheimer’s both the patient and the family caregivers was a goal of the Family Caregiving Center. He quietly helped families in McNeal Hall every Saturday. He developed skills in graduate students, volunteers, and family members in understanding the disease and respecting and helping families as they are impacted (the entire family) with this disease – not only the patient.

o He continued to work on self-improvement. His high school friend shared that the Wayne many new didn’t just happen. He openly shared with his friend new techniques he was trying to make himself a better teacher, therapist, and friend. He then reported on how these self-improvement methods were going. How often do we hear – “well that is the way I am – take me as I am.? I sensed that as Wayne saw ways he could improve he consciously took at behaviors to try to change his behavior. He did not try this in his dress through….

Well – there were many other stories, tears, and laughter shared last night – but those I shared above tribute Wayne’s life on being a friend, colleague, and parent.

Best, Trish

Words from Renee Tepe

As a recent graduate of the Family Social Science, I feel honored to have had
Dr. Caron as a professor in three different classes. I wanted to take as
many classes as possible with him. It was in Intimate Relations that I
finally knew what I wanted to study. He had the ability to make even
Research Methods at 8 in the morning an interesting, and fun class. I have
learned so much from him. He was such a kind, and caring man. My heart goes
out to his family and friends.

Words from Libby Plowman

Please forgive me if this is longwinded. But my time with Wayne was always
filled to the brim with words! And oh, I could say so much more.

Wayne was my graduate advisor, my number one supporter, my mentor; but most
of all, a friend. The first time I met Wayne, it took about 5 emails to get
ahold of him. He cheerfully told me that it was lucky I learned early on
that it was difficult to get in touch with him. I didn't take it personally
once I saw his schedule. We began talking and realized that our mothers
worked together at NorthRidge in New Hope. Soon enough, we were talking
about St. Therese and all of his old stomping grounds. It was an instant
connection. But even then I didn't realize how lucky I was to be his
research assistant.

During my first year of graduate school, I would come to Wayne's office for
our weekly meetings. I was doing data entry for a study he completed over a
decade ago (and boy were we both excited when I finally finished!). I swear
the only reason he needed me is because he didn't want to enter data into a
PC! When we met, he would be sitting in his chair in front of his Mac, of
course. He would lean back in his chair, propping his neck with his folded
hands, and casually ask me how it was going. I, of course, assumed he was
asking about my research progress. After all, that is what professors want
to hear about, or so I thought. As I started speaking, he would gently
interrupt me, reach his hand out over the table, and repeat himself - "no, I
mean how is it going?" He was talking about life. He reminded me to take
time to reflect, and always knew when I needed it most. Looking back, he
probably knew me better than anyone else at school that first year. I felt
so safe and secure around him; he helped me develop my "academic voice" and
taught me how to stop doubting myself. But most of all, he had faith in me.
Unwavering, unabashed, faith. He was the type of teacher who helped me
answer the big questions myself rather than answering them for me.

During these weekly "therapy sessions", as we jokingly called them, Wayne
would often share memories of his own graduate experience with me. He
fondly recalled how one of his professors would always tell students they
were the next "greats" of family science. For example, "you are the next
Reuben Hill! David Olson! Pauline Boss!" All Minnesota greats, of course. He
told me this story to show me that I was a student being formed and taught
in the footsteps of these great leaders in family science. That the future
had no limits. Wayne, I will forever "fill-in-the-blank" with your name -
you are one of the "greats" and I wish I had the chance to tell you that. I
feel honored to have spent such time with you. You constantly reminded me,
by example and through words, why what we do is important. When I struggled,
you shared with me your sense of purpose. When I celebrated, you were
cheering me on with laughter and applause! And you challenged me. It wasn't
always just fun and games. We weren't afraid to be honest with each other,
and that meant that we sometimes disagreed. But one thing we did agree on
was that we loved that about our relationship. I think Wayne respected me
because I didn't just give in and agree with him - even when he was right
and I knew it! But in retrospect, it just showed how safe I felt with him,
to throw out anything and get feedback. How I wish I had written every word

I know Wayne is somewhere looking down on us, just fuming that his death was
so untimely. I feel so comforted thinking of it how Pam described during
memory sharing - that Wayne is off exploring his new world - so true! But he
would be so frustrated about the unfinished work he had left to complete,
the people he left behind - that's how he was, always concerned about
others. I remember the first time I came to the Caregiving Center. It was
then I realized that he was equally important to others as he was to me. It
will never cease to amaze me how one person could be so much to so many. But
I suppose that is what is so wonderful about the life of a teacher - his
purpose and energy will go on and on through all of the lives that he
touched. None of our work will go unfinished, Wayne!

To Chris: I, as so many others already have, want to remind you that you
were Wayne's pride and joy. How often he told me stories of you and your
adventures during your first year of college. Never was his face so animated
and bright as when he spoke of you! He was so proud to be your father. To
Ruth, Pam, and all of Wayne's family: I feel lucky to have shared in this
wonderful man's life. Thank you for sharing him with us.

Libby Plowman

Words from Cynthia Meyer

Like many others, I continue to sit in disbelief as I think about Wayne's
death. I am in my office, fairly late on Wednesday night, a time when
normally Wayne would be in the office next door to me. I have known Wayne
for over 25 years, first as a fellow graduate student and most recently as
colleagues in the Family Social Science department. I have been thinking
about what I have loved about Wayne: his irreverent humor, his strong
opinions, his ability to connect with so many people irregardless of
background, his dedication to his family, his dedication to his work, his
ability to make a good story out of almost any situation.

I have realized how I have come to depend on Wayne in so many ways. Need a
perspective on university politics? Talk to Wayne. Need an obscure
reference that no one else seems to know? Talk to Wayne. Need support with
regards to a student issue? Talk to Wayne. Need someone to talk to about
some small event from 27 years ago? Talk to Wayne. Need to have someone
re-frame the current situation in a positive way? Talk to Wayne.

It is hard to imagine our community without Wayne. He is, and will continue
to be, missed. I feel very lucky to have known him.

Cynthia Meyer

August 29, 2007

He Held My Class in the Palm of His Hand

Professor Caron had an amazing way of making absolutely everything interesting. He held my 250 person class in the palm of his hand each lecture. I can only imagine the tremendous impact he has made in the lives of students, co-workers, friends, and family members. My heart goes out to all of those who had the chance to know, respect, and love his unforgettable presence.

Clara S.

August 28, 2007

Attachment...not just a theory...a way of life

Wayne always talked about his son, Chris. Tonight at the visitation I got to meet him and he looks quite different than the baby whose picture Wayne showed during every attachment research lecture in Intimate Relations. The picture he was so proud to let students see, Wayne and his attachment to his son whom he loved dearly. Wayne wasn't just a detached researcher, teacher and clinician, he really embodied what he knew. It's no wonder so many of his have realized our attachment to him was profound.

Wayne Caron and his son Chris.jpg

from Darryl Goetz - "Listen to the Families"

Wayne, (From Darryl)

It certainly seemed like “love at first sight?…in the spring of 1986 we came together that first day in a coffee shop in downtown Mpls to talk about the FsoS department and discuss what it is like being a doctoral student. I was thinking of applying to the program that you were in.

Instead, we talked for 3 hours about the families we were both working with, that were living with chronic conditions – you with Alzheimers families running a project for Pauline , and me with children with asthma/diabetes, and it was as if we had always been together! We were talking the same language! We asked – “How do the families live with their situation? How do they survive? How do they make meaning? What keeps them going in the face of such adversity?? “HEALING! That is what it is!? we said together! They engage in a type of self-healing that most caregivers in the traditional medical care system do not talk about, nor understand when it comes to “chronic conditions!?. And over the next 20 years we spent hours upon hours talking and writing about a concept that we eventually came to call “Systemic Healing?. It embodies that notion that physical healing is just one part of health and well-being – and that families that adapt well to living with chronic conditions are engaged in healing in a truly systemic manner on many levels. This we learned from the families!! The families are always the teachers!

For the first 7 years we met almost every Thursday, at least for four hours, very often for 8 hours. It was truly like a religion to us – the time was sacred and very little was allowed to intrude upon our weekly allocation of brainstorming! We started at 9am (at least I was there at 9 – you usually got there by 9:30! “I am not an early morning person? you would always tell me!! ) We sat at a small table in the corner at Pam Sherman’s restaurant in Uptown, and filled our brown bound notebooks with pages of our passionate thinking about families with chronic conditions that were engaged with the traditional health care system and how they found little to help them live with their situation, and lots to be frustrated with. We both believed that we needed to “listen? to the families – and they would guide us! It became our mantra – “listen to what the families are saying? – and we believed the answers to the questions we were asking about healing would be answered - it was our challenge to decipher their code – and if we could, the knowledge could be shared with countless other families. Wouldn’t that be marvellous, we thought?!

That is the key, isn’t it, Wayne?! For us it always came back to this when we were ‘stuck’ in our thinking – in research, theoretical, or clinical work – just “listen to the families?! All the knowledge must originate from them – it CANNOT come from us! We said it over and over again – if only we listen long enough and hard enough, we might begin to understand. And, so began our journey of “trying to understand?! My oh my – how I looked forward to those meetings with you – they were incredibly draining and filling – all at the same time – what an incredible feeling I had when we were together!

And the dream – of a family center – we spent hours thinking of the right name! And hours thinking of how to make it a reality – And later in our lives as our professional contexts changed – YOU MADE IT HAPPEN! IT WAS YOUR INCREDIBLE ENERGY AND SACRIFICE THAT MADE A DREAM BECOME REALITY!! I remember so vividly when you called me excitedly and said that you had obtained permission to use some rooms on Saturday mornings for work with families. You had some space, you made the time, and like in the Field of Dreams, you knew the families would come! And come they did, and out of basically nothing, you constructed the most incredible center – it truly was a miraculous creation!

I could say so much more to you, Wayne, and I am deeply saddened that I cannot be there in person to be with friends and colleagues that have known you - and take comfort from the countless others that have experienced their own “healing? by being with you. My life has been so changed, enriched and touched meaningfully by my relationship with you. You helped me think when I was stuck. You provided me comfort when my heart was aching.

I miss you terribly.
I love you.
You are in my heart forever.

A Life Well-Lived

Over the past few days since we learned of Wayne's death I have frequently had thoughts and images of him that come to me and with those thoughts come a feeling of great peace and appreciation for his life. I offer these few words in honor of his life:

An essence that lingers
A smile to one's face
A feeling of goodness
And grace
A remembrance of meeting
A celebration of presence
A knowing of the difference
one life can make.

In tribute to Wayne Caron: A Life Well-Lived

Jane Newell