My coworker died two weeks ago. He had been fighting cancer for two years and finally just couldn’t do it any longer.

Danny was a wonderful person. He was kind, infinitely patient, and had such a passion for the work that we do. I was always struck by how much he knew and how much he loved talking about the science behind what we do. Even when he was out on medical leave, he was always asking about the lab. He was never dismissive when he spoke to me. Even when he was angry about something, he was careful in his words and his actions.

Looking at the pictures at his memorial, it was clear to me that he had lived such a wonderful and full life. While I’m sure he had difficulties and troubles and sadnesses (as we all do), he seemed like a genuinely happy person. We hear cliches about how short life is, how lucky we are to have the people we love, how we have to find the joy in the small things in life. But for me, it actually is a fight to remember these things and to be happy with my life, which is really pretty good. It is a day-to-day battle to not let the really hard things overwhelm me.

Danny, I’m going to miss you so much, not least of all, because you always embodied the joy that I struggle every day to find. I will always remember you and how you were such an example to me, both personally and professionally. I only wish that I had gotten more time to know you.