Brian Doyle passed away Saturday morning and I've found myself crying in the bathroom over a person I've never met. I've read his essays for the past four years and they've resonated with me more than any author I can name. Brian Doyle found the heroes in tragedies like 9/11 and Sandy Hook, he shined a fog light on people who might have gone nameless, parading their miraculous courage, giving hope to the hopeless, reminding us that there is always light even in the midst of crumbly, bloodied buildings. His essays catch me mid-afternoon watching my children play beneath the trees. I've watched his readings on YouTube over and over, finding something new and transformative every viewing. He can make you laugh and weep in the same sentence, he can summon a song from a quiet crowd of strangers, he wrote in length about the human heart, that wondrous “wet engine” that drives us forward, urging us upward. He taught me the freedom of a run on sentence. He is not afraid to reveal human imperfection but always buries it with the power we have to do better, to be good, tender, laughing humans. I know I'm one of many transformed by his work, his passing has shown me the unstoppable power of humility and goodness, how drastic and permanent it is, how it will always, always win. Like the last lines of one of his best essays we truly have "walked out of the woods changed men." Thank you Brian, for every word.