I'll miss Tim Russert. He always struck me as a man of integrity, and I was touched by the loving sense of family which seemed to bond him so closely with both his father and his son. I was also drawn by his passion for his work. You can't fake that twinkle in the eye with which he greeted every new surprise. As an interviewer, he seemed fair, thorough, probing, and genuinely interested in what his subject had to say. When he sensed evasion, he knew how to push further with polite insistence. I learned a lot from watching and listening to him, and I'll miss his ability to put political matters into a sane perspective.
There's a life lesson for all of us, of course, in the shocking suddenness of his death. Readers of The Buddha Diaries may recall that one of my own great difficulties in contemplating the end of my life is not knowing the end of the story. What a great irony, in this light, that Russert died without being allowed to know the end of the greatest story of his professional life, in which he was so passionately engaged. He must have been looking forward with enormous excitement to the party conventions, the campaign in the fall, and the night of the November presidential election. All this was snatched from him by the intrusion of an event so unanticipated that it shocked an entire nation. It's a sad reminder of the fragility of life and the unpredictability of its conclusion.