Sometimes life throws you a knee buckling curveball. You know what I’m talking about, right? You think life is going in one smooth direction and just when you commit to it’s path, it darts away from you. If it’s sharp enough, it’ll leave you standing in the batter’s box dazed and confused. It’ll suck all the air from you. My family had one of those moments last week. See that dapper looking gentleman in the middle of the image to your left? We had to say goodbye to him one last time this past Tuesday. That gentleman’s name is Doug and he is my Brother-in-law. He’s also a father, a husband, a son, a brother, a friend. He was a lot of things to a lot of people and was called home much sooner than anyone imaged.
I don’t do well with death. I actually fear it and try to avoid everything associated with it. You know, out of sight out of mind. I swear, I sometimes think by ignoring it the Reaper will forget I’m here, like the quiet kid who sits in the back of the classroom. And when it hits this close to home, to a gentleman four years my junior, it really gets you thinking. Makes you realize you need to get your shit together, because life is precarious at best. We all dangle on the edge of it, never knowing when we’ll lose our balance and fall from it’s presence.
Doug was only 42 and two short days from his 43rd birthday. He went to sleep Thursday night and never woke up. He had exciting plans scheduled for Friday afternoon we found out. He was going to spend some much needed quality time with his boys. See, Doug made some mistakes, just as we all do. His missteps took him away from his family and he wasn’t always able to be there for them. It wasn’t because he didn’t love them, because we all know he loved nothing on earth more than his boys, it just made it tough to be there at all times. But that Friday was going to the day. Instead, as a family, we grieved his passing.
It’s funny what a devastating event like this will bring to your attention. I realized a second too late that I could have a better friend to him. But I wasn’t, and that’s on me. I’m not even sure we could have or would have stayed friends had I tried. I’m not sure being a better friend would have had any positive effects in his life. Most likely it wouldn’t have as he had some of the best people behind him already. But I could have done better.
Anyway, this post isn’t about me though. It isn’t meant to be cathartic. I want this to be a trumpet blast for Doug. I want everyone to know he was nothing less than a loving dad. That he was making amends for his past and was on the right path to a better life. That’s the noise we should carry with us. Let that be the soundtrack of his remembrance.
So Doug, from me to you. This is my goodbye.
But only for now, because we will meet again.
And this time I promise to be a better friend.