Descansa en Paz, Margaret Skinner Weber, by Michael Feldman

This drawing, by Peggy Weber, which she did when we were both 17, is the truest image ever made of me. Peggy died unexpectedly last Wednesday and ever since I have been struggling to make sense of that news, and to what it means to live in a world without her around.

Peggy was my first real girlfriend, lover, and partner in making my way through the chaos of the "real world". Looking back, I realize that she single-handedly saved my teenage years from being a compete and unmitigated disaster.

Peggy taught me so many things. Some I learned right away, like how to make up your mind on exactly what it is that you want, and then focus single-mindedly on the best way to get it. Some took decades to learn, like how not to waste an iota of emotional energy worrying about what other people think about you.

But over the years I have become convinced that the most important thing that Peggy Weber taught me was how to treat women with respect and tenderness. Without this lesson, my own egomania and obliviousness would certainly have doomed me to a lonely and unbalanced existence. On this day above all, International Women's Day, not only I but indirectly all the women I have been involved with, owe Peg another sincere thanks.

I could not have been happier when Peggy ended up sharing her life with my best friend Britt Hall, because each brought out the best in the other and together they created a wonderful interior world, and an incredible family. My heart goes out to them in this time of trial and transformation.