Beloved Carnegie Mellon professor Randy Pausch recently discovered that he has incurable pancreatic cancer and has only a few short months to live. This week, he addressed his students in a final farewell lecture, which he entitled "How To Live Your Dreams."
The Wall Street Journal called it "the lecture of a lifetime" and it's undoubtedly one of the more inspiring and moving lectures I've ever heard in my life. I can't stop watching it and, every time I do, I find myself with tears in my eyes. Even with death at his door, Randy Pausch remains one of the most life-affirming people I've ever met.
At the end of the lecture, he reveals that the life lessons he was discussing weren't for the audience - but rather for his three children. As his oldest son's just five, he's focusing on making videos during his remaining days so that his younger kids will have something to remember their father.
"I find that I am completely positive. The only times I cry are when I think about the kids -- and it's not so much the 'Gee, I'll miss seeing their first bicycle ride' type of stuff as it is a sense of unfulfilled duty -- that I will not be there to help raise them, and that I have left a very heavy burden for my wife."
His wife and children, he said, "mean everything to me. They give a purpose to life and a depth of joy that no job can begin to provide. I hope they will remember me as a man who loved them, and did everything he could for them."
Here's a video of excerpts from the lecture.
My deepest thoughts and prayers to Randy Pausch and his beloved family. May his story help inspire all of you to pursue your childhood dreams and appreciate the value of the life you have.
Life is short, my friends. Kiss your wife. Hug your kids. Tell your loved ones how much they mean to you. And always remember to seize the day.