I am of an age where my mentors are leaving this vale of tears, depending, of coruse, on how one counts ones mentors.
The mentor who just passed away was a lovely French woman. She had more style in her little finger than I do in my whole body, integrated over 60 years of life. She had done many interesting and important scientific studies, but ones, alas that have been taken over by more modern and recent work. The people who knew her and collaborated with her are largely retired or damn close.
What is important here is that she was good to me. Helped me. Taught me. She was not a "main mentor" - advisor for a degree. I have not spoken with her for many years. The last time I saw her was when I visited Paris with a young person. She was wonderful and charming, but the young person is gone, and it is a different painful story.
When I was in grad school I heard the Dali Lama speak. He was charismatic speaking in a foreign language. One of the things he said was to live one's life without regrets. That is a powerful thought: do not do the things you will regret, but having done them, for whatever reason, do not regret them.
I have tried to live my live that way. There are very few things I do regret, and those I do are not worth airing here. The ones that involve other people: I am sorry.
But now, I have one more regret. I have not gone back to Paris for years. I have not seen Francoise for years. I regret that.
My Masters, PhD, and Postdoc advisors are dead. Some of those are mourned more than others, by me, at least. Some will be remembered more than others, although that is not a reflection on either the importance of the work or on their importance to their trainees. All made a difference to me. I stop here, now to realize that.
My undergraduate mentor, who helped me get into grad school, and made me a co-author when undergrads were not co-authors, is still alive. I will write to him. It is never to late to say thank you to someone who is still alive.