Robert Burt, emeritus professor of law at Yale Law School, died Tuesday at the age of 76. I took his Family Law course in the fall of 2003. He was a thoughtful and kind teacher, and his course expanded my sense of families and my sense of law. I vividly remember the day we discussed aging and family support for the elderly. He told us, with a bittersweet smile on his face, that life is a tragedy. It was a message whose full truth we come to only with time and its ravages; in delivering it, he reached across the years between us and for a moment held us close.