So it is with that in mind that I say, while his passing regrettable, the gift of his stories will remain with us. Now I can reflect on why his work mattered so much to me.
The book taught me that children are as complex as adults. They struggle with many of the same feelings we do, but lack the vocabulary and rationality to process them all. Consequently, children builds worlds, characters, and narratives to traverse the landscape of their emotions.
How beautiful is that? I see it every day in my girl and I do my best to nurture it.
That's how Sendak's book has shaped my life: it swept me away as a boy, and helped me to understand it as a man. Now I try to continue that cycle with my own child.
Case in point, the painting above hangs in my daughter's bedroom. She is my Wild Thing. I want her to discover the same sense of dreamlike wonderment I feel to this day when I revisit Sendak's book.