It is with great sadness and very heavy hearts that we have to share the news that the Deerhorn Family has lost one of the greats. Chetan Phadnis has been a pillar in the Deerhorn community for over a decade, as he has brought his three sons, Nate, Scott, and Ryan, to Father Son camp for many years. Every year, when we do staff training, we talk to our staff about how much they can learn at Father Son camps, just by watching the dads. The care, compassion, and dedication that these dads give to their kids at Father Son camp epitomizes how we want our staff to treat our campers.
Chetan was one of the best role models for our staff we could ask for. He embodied the Deerhorn Creed. He was a regular fellow, who made friends with everyone he met. He was a booster, not a knocker, endlessly supportive of those around him, even kids he had just met. He was always an optimist, rather than a pessimist, always with a big smile on his face and sharing positivity with those around him. His kindness and joy were contagious. He made you want to be a better person. Even if you were feeling down, all it took was one conversation with Chetan to turn your day around. Quite simply, he was the kind of guy that made Deerhorn better just by being here.
Honestly, friends, words fail me to even begin to explain how deeply we are feeling this loss. We are devastated, and we know that our deep sadness is shared by so many who knew him. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family as they grieve and adjust to life without him. There will be a service streamed next week from Northbrook, and the details can be found in his obituary here.
Until then, I would like to leave you with “A Blessing For the Broken-Hearted” by Jan Richardson. It has been deeply meaningful for me in processing the death of loved ones, but it also rings so true for our country right now. There are so many broken-hearted.
Let us agree, for now, that we will not say the breaking makes us stronger.
Or that it is better to have this pain than to have done without this love.
Let us promise we will not tell ourselves
that time will heal the wound,
When every day our waking opens it anew.
Perhaps, for now, it can be enough to simply marvel
at the mystery of how a heart, so broken,
can go on beating,
as if it were made for precisely this.
As if it knows that the only cure for love is more of it.
As if it sees the heart’s sole remedy for breaking
is to love still.
As if it trusts that its own persistent pulse
is the rhythm of a blessing
we cannot begin to fathom
but will save us, nonetheless.