Who is Phillip Bainbridge, you might ask. That’s not a name that comes up in gifted circles, after all. It is, however, a name important to me and my family. Phillip is my nephew, a gifted little boy who grew up to be a kind, gentle, and successful man. Last Friday morning, September 25, he lost his short battle with cancer, leaving a hole in my heart.
Phillip arrived in the world in 1967 as my oldest brother’s first born child. I didn’t know anything about giftedness back then, but I didn’t need to. Anyone could see what a smart, sweet, kind, and caring little boy he was. As his sister Katie wrote, “As a young boy, he was always very concerned about sick or lonely animals- injured birds- little rabbits, etc. he always wanted to help.”
I used to babysit for Phillip and his siblings quite often when they were little. I remember Phillip taking care of his pets. The family had a dog, but that wasn’t enough for Phillip. He had fish, as many kids do, a rabbit, as some kids do, and a snake, which only a few kids do. I don’t remember anyone having to remind Phillip to feed his pets either, not even the snake which fed on rodents. He was a responsible little boy.
The most trouble he gave me when I babysat occurred at bed time. He simply didn’t want to turn the lights out and go to sleep. He preferred staying up to read encyclopedias. When my son exhibited the same behavior, I thought of Phillip, and knew that like my son, Phillip had been doing what many gifted kids do: feeding a hunger for knowledge.
Phillip chose a career in medicine, which is no surprise considering his concern for others. As his sister, Katie, noted, he loved science and cared a “great deal about medicine and the care and well being of others. He was full of love, compassion and generosity.” A medical career was perfect for him. When it came time in his medical studies to settle on a specialty, he opted for radiology. He told me that in that field he wouldn’t have to deal much with patients. I was initially surprised by that remark because it made him sound rather cold, like he didn’t want to be bothered. What he meant, he later clarified, was that it was difficult to endure the suffering of the patients and their families. He clearly had Dabrowski’s emotional supersensitivity.
Like many gifted people, Phillip was very witty and had a great sense of humor. Here’s a story his brother, Jonathan shared:
We were sitting at one or another formal family dinner when he was in high school. I announced to the table that I wished I could have a pet monkey. Phillip, not known at that age for being much of a dinner conversationalist, looked up from his plate and stared at me across the table for a moment. Then he said, “Why on earth would you want a pet that can hurl its own feces at you?”
It was just so quintessentially Phillip. Intelligent, practical, and with a wonderfully dry sense of humor.
He kept his sense of humor throughout his ordeal, starting when he first learned he had cancer. He was a great fan of the movie “Napoleon Dynamite,” and when he got the news that he had liver cancer, he quoted Napoleon, “The worst day of my life, what do you think?”
He was a gentle and kind soul, a loving husband and a devoted father. He loved spending time with his wife and his daughters, and enjoyed joking around with them. When his daughters, now 14 and 12, were little, he used to say to them “Hey! Your epidermis is showing!”
In his leisure time, Phillip enjoyed golf and fishing. I’m sure he inherited his affinity for fishing from my father, who loved to fish. (That’s what he did on his honeymoon. He took my mom on a fishing trip.) I like to think that Phillip is fishing somewhere, maybe with his grandfather. I can picture him holding up a fish and saying, “Hey Gramps! Look what I caught!”
I love you, Phillip. Be at peace.http://giftsforlearning.com/wp/loving-tribute-phillip-bainbridge/http://giftsforlearning.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Phillip.jpghttp://giftsforlearning.com/wp/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Phillip-150x150.jpgFamily Life