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  • Writer's pictureLeap Into Leadership

On Grief. In Honor of My Uncle.

“The dead slip out quietly and leave furious holes in their wake. It’s Fortune’s strong suit. She keeps catching us unprepared, again and again.” Carol Radziwell

Daphnis Solomon Panagides (1929-2019) lived a life that most people can only dream of. Just days shy of 90 years old, he passed away last week in his sleep. Daphnis Panagides was a larger than life human being and anyone who had the pleasure of meeting him, even if only for a few hours, left the encounter feeling hopeful, optimistic and inspired. The life of Daphnis Panagides cannot be summed up in a few sentences. He was, at heart, a humanist who keenly understood the value and agency of human beings, individually and collectively, to contribute to the greater good. His monikers include father, husband, uncle, brother, friend, inventor, intellectual, writer, activist, humanitarian, author, speaker, philosopher, politician, resistance fighter, educator, tour guide, gardener, conservationist, community leader, historian, adventurer, mushroom hunter and even Santa Claus. His fatal flaw? He was a terrible driver and I thought he would end his life in a car accident. Instead, he lived a long, full life driving all over his beloved Cyprus with family and friends.

More than anyone I know, Daphnis Panagides lived his life where each day could be expressed in ALL CAPS. In fact, ending his 2018 holiday letter to friends and family, he wrote: “I WISH YOUR LIFE IS ALWAYS BLESSED WITH GOOD HEALTH, HAPPINESS, PEACE AND LOVE.”

I will miss his contagious energy, his zest for life, his love of learning and his magnetic personality and charm. More than anything, I will miss how he made me believe that I could do anything I set my mind to, because that is exactly what he did.

He signed off his emails to me with the following:

Your loving uncle, who is with you.” (and always included this image in his signature line)

Don’t worry, my dear uncle, you will always be with me, close to my heart. We'll keep in touch!

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