Our dear friend and colleague Chuck Lauer passed away on Sunday, April 30, 2017 after a battle with leukemia.   In his memory, below is his most popular column from the many that he did for the IDN Summit.  How appropriate that over the years, his most-read blog was titled "Thank You for Everything". We thank you Chuck, for being a friend and an inspiration to us.
Read Healthcare Business Media CEO John Kelly's tribute to Chuck here.
Read Chuck Lauer's full obituary here.
By Chuck Lauer, Healthcare Policy Expert
A good friend of mine a few days ago sent me a letter from a gentleman he had helped in his career.  My friend was obviously gratified by the note and was kind enough to share it with me.  Most of us that receive letters or notes or even e-mails from individuals saying thanks for something we have done for them find it one of the most fulfilling things that can happen to us.
I have personally received notes from individuals who thank me for a column I have written about something that meant something of note to them and I find those kinds of communications something very special.  It doesn’t matter who you are or what status you have achieved in your life, when someone sends you a note that says thank you, all of us treasure those affirmations. There really is no greater reward than giving of yourself to others, and yet in too many instances we forget how we got somewhere and why!  If you think about it, invariably it’s because some friend or boss or coach or professor went out of their way to help you because they truly cared about you! The question is, of course, what have you done about it?  Have you taken the time to say thank you, and if you have, what method did you use to communicate your feelings?
A couple of summers ago while playing golf with John Mills, the former Chairman of Medline, Inc., we talked about the people in our lives who had mentored and cared for us.  We talked about our parents and we talked about our former teachers and colleagues who we had worked with who went out of their way to give advice and counsel to us about life, our careers and the challenges and risks that are part of anyone’s life.  We also talked about the physicians in our lives who over the years had treated us and then John said something I will always remember and it went like this: “Have you ever sent a letter to any of them thanking them for their efforts on your behalf?”  I told him I had a long time ago but not recently!  Soon after our discussion I did write a note to my internist and thanked her for all the times she had worked with me attempting and succeeding in getting me well from colds and other assorted maladies that we all deal with in our day-to-day lives.  It is so simple to write a note to someone who has mentored you or performed a personal favor on your behalf, but too often it skips our minds because we are too busy to take the time and then later we have so much to attend to we actually do forget!  It might not be a big deal to you, but I have had people read me letters from former colleagues thanking them for their help and consideration and they treasure those notes for the rest of their lives.  It gives meaning to their existence.
Most of us have brains enough to write letters to customers thanking them for their orders or business and that is a good thing, but somehow too often we fail to recognize others that have contributed so much to our lives -- people who have put up with our idiosyncrasies and moods and yet care about us deeply and always will -- the members of our families, our spouses and children and brothers and sisters and our parents.  Some of us have somehow forgotten the magic that happens when we receive a note from someone we love thanking us for simply being ourselves.  Magic is not too strong a word to use in these matters.
So here we are in the holiday season when most of us will be with our loved ones as well as with friends and colleagues. It is a season of joy and a season of peace.  What better time is there to not only say thank you but to tell your family members how much they mean to you and how much you love each and every one of them.  But don’t stop there -- let each and every person you can know how much they mean to you for their advice and their friendship and their being in your life!  It will do something for you that you will never forget!
So thank you, every one of you, for your kindness to me and also for the beautiful letters you send me. They are very much appreciated!  Have a great holiday season and, finally, God Bless the United States of America!

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