My words have been in a muddle since I found out about Gary but here is an attempt to share my heart:
On May 12th Gary passed away due to complications following multiple strokes. Saturday was a bittersweet day. We had just completed our team’s third Spring Expo as the news came through on our phones.
Spring Expo is our team’s way of coming together and sharing the knowledge we have with our members. It is a celebration filled with friendship, fun, giving, sharing, dreaming, and wellness. I share these details, because the idea for the expos was sparked by Gary’s modeling of care and concern for his members and the value he placed on teaching and learning. He took great pride and responsibility in teaching us all as much as he could about everything he knew.
After meeting him once, I knew he was the “real deal” as my husband calls him. Gary was humble and warm and filled with knowledge that he gained by being available, observant, and receptive, to every detail his life had to offer. With his hands in the dirt, he learned. With a passion for more, he sought after plants and farms and lands that could provide us with the best oils in the world.
My favorite memories of Gary were not from the flashy conventions when he came in on a trapeze rope, or when he was dropped by helicopter, nor when he jousted with a dark night; however, those are some good ones too! Still, my favorite memories are the simple ones.
Listening to Gary tell stories at the farm was a gift. I remember one hot day, his birthday in fact, we sat from lunch until way past dinner time and listened to him teach about how to use oils and what his work entailed, and on to details about the new Northern Lights Farm in Canada. I wrote and listened and wrote and listened.
Those notebooks are my treasures. His teachings are precious to me, and I am grateful to have been one of the lucky ones who got to sit at his boots and learn.
Today is Gary’s memorial. This is not just an end of a precious life, but also an end of an era. Young Living has grown exponentially in the last few years. Growth is a beautiful thing for this means that Gary’s vision for reaching the world with the amazing benefits of essential oils is taking place. However, with that growth, less personal contact with the original YL teachers is a sad reality. With Gary in heaven, I know the times at the farm will be different too. This is where my sense of loss begins.
I pray that those of us who had the chance to learn from Gary will continue to share his wisdom with every willing ear. I hope we will continue to tell our stories of Gary, our journeys, our oily testimonies, and our victories.
I have few regrets in life, for with each mistake came a lesson; but, I do wish I had stepped forward sooner and joined Young Living the first time my dear friend shared Thieves oil with me. This would have meant more days at the farm learning from the only person in the world who could tell those important life-giving stories. Still, I am eternally grateful for the time and experiences I had in the presence of this amazing teacher.
Rest well, Gary. Thank you for providing so well for us! You will be greatly missed.
To honor Gary with a gift to the YL Foundation, click here.