Sunday, January 25, 2009

Memorial Speech by Doug McCollough

We all have a new life now.


I have great things to say about my sister, but I want to use my time telling you about your new life.


Today we grieve, today we mourn, but tomorrow we work.


You must fulfill your purpose.  I don’t know what your purpose is, but your must find it and fulfill it.


One of the things Leah did for all of us is to encourage us as we went along our way.  A deep realization I had upon her passing was of all of the things I now must do.  Let’s see if you have a list similar to mine.


First, I have to join NPR and stop stealing free radio.  Leah was very clear about this.  I told her I would do it, but then I didn’t do it.  When she died I knew I had to do it quick.


I have to restart my business.  She knows it, I know it.  I have to give more.  Not some unknown quantity.  Thanks to Leah, I know exactly how much I have to give.  Finally, among other things, I have to fulfill our family legacy.


These things are a part of my purpose.  I may not fulfill my dreams, but I will fulfill my purpose, and you must also.


Leah did not fulfill all of her dreams, but because she did not ignore her purpose, she reached some of her dreams. 


So I tell you today not what you should do, but what you must do.  Leah’s life charges you.


-         Love Yourself


-         Love People


-         Help People


-         Learn Forever


-         Respect Others


-         Stop Suffering, Injustice, Hatred


-         Cherish Health


-         Dream


-         Fulfill Your Purpose


At Leah’s funeral in Michigan, my brother, John Spencer McCollough made a statement.  He said that it would be tempting to think that she had been taken away from us too soon.  It would be tempting to say that Leah’s life was cut short.  But in truth, if Leah had lived another 40 years, she could not have loved any more.  She could not have given of herself more.  She could not have helped more.  The truth is Leah lived exactly as she was supposed to live.


Finally, as the first act of the fulfillment of my purpose, I would like to know and love people more.  I am a private person who doesn’t reach out to people much.  But I want to change that.


So though I do not work with you, I didn’t go to school with you, I don’t know most of you, I would be pleased to be your friend.  Past the grieving and into the future.  If our paths cross, please consider me a friend.


The future brings a lot of work as Leah continues to live through all of us.  There are legal affairs to be addressed.  There is the matter of funds being collected to do great things in her honor, and I am considering pushing for legislation to raise public health awareness so that Leah’s death, like her life, serves others.


So when you ask us how you can help, there’s plenty to do.  Just listen out for me, Doug, your friend, calling.


I bid you Peace, Love, and Blessings.


  1. Hello Doug, I was in a monthly discussion group with Leah. What I found most inspiring was the deep sense of internal peace and self assurance that she exuded, she stood out for me from the first moment I heard her speak in a large group. That inspiration remains a clear vision for me of the kind of person I'd like to be.
    Because Leah was pursuing a raw diet, she also inspired me to find recipes to make for the nights I made dinner. Here are two. The first she liked and was willing to overlook that the quinoa is actually cooked (this recipe comes from Cafe Gratitude!) the 2nd she ended up unable to attend the meeting, but all who did enjoyed the dish very much.

    I Am Graceful (all their recipes have names like that)
    Almond Seed Pesto

    1 tbs chopped garlic
    ¼ tsp salt
    3 bunches basil (leaves only)
    ¼ cup olive oil
    1 tbs lemon juice
    ¼ cup of raw almond butter

    place all ingredients except almond butter in the bowl of a food processor fitted with an “S” blade. pulse and scrape down until a pretty smooth texture. while running, add the almond butter.

    stir into cooked quinoa, I think aim for 4:1 quinoa to pesto at least. spoon into bowls and top with raw veggies like julienned carrots, radish sprouts and shredded cabbage or kale.

    Curtido (raw)

    "If you want your cabbage chopped, washed, dried, sprinkled with salt or vinegar, there is nothing healthier." - Cato, De agricultura (oldest surviving complete book of Latin prose, 2nd century B.C.)

    1 small head cabbage, sliced as for coleslaw
    3 carrots, coarsely grated
    1 large red onion, slivered
    1/2 cup cilantro, minced
    1 tsp oregano
    1 cup white vinegar
    1 cup apple cider vinegar
    2 cup water
    salt salt salt
    fresh pepper

    2 Combine all ingredients. Let sit. It'll improve and then keep quite a while in the fridge as it's basically ceviche - a non-fermented pickle. Eat cool or at room temp.

    Recipe Source
    Web page:

    -best wishes
    Shaula Massena

  2. Doug,
    I am writer for Seattle Fitness Examiner. Leah's fellow training partner, Nicole Decare Ji, sent me Leah's inspirational story and asked if I could write an article about the Danskin triathlon that is being dedicated to Leah this year. I would like to use an email that Leah sent Nicole about her triathlon experience. Can you please give me permission to use excerpts from Leah's email for the news article at: Thank you. Brenda Asheim

  3. Doug, I just discovered this and would like to offer my belated condolences. I never met Leah but heard a lot about her from your father, JHM. Thank you for helping me to understand her better and come to a greater understanding of her. May God bless you and your family.