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Time Sure Flies

Reflections on losing a dear friend way too early.

 

I put my face in my hands and began weeping uncontrollably. I was on the southbound A train racing to the hospital. A good friend was on life support. I was praying to get there before he took his last breath. I desperately wanted to say goodbye.

I had spent the prior day at his hospital bedside with his wife and young daughter, praying for a miracle. The whole situation was just utterly heartbreaking.

I had known RW for over 20 years. He was confident, intelligent and could discuss any subject with anyone. He was one of the funniest guys you could ever meet. He was always the life of the party and a blast to be around. The many memories include countless sporting events, summer beach trips, epic meals, bachelor parties and weddings.

I never heard him utter a negative word about anyone. How many people can you say that about?

Life had recently thrown him a few curveballs. As his industry changed, he was forced out of a good job which he enjoyed. I know this was a blow to his psyche. But his entrepreneurial spirit prevailed. He started a new business which seemed to be getting some traction.

As I sat in the hospital this past Sunday, I realized I probably hadn’t seen my friend for about two years. Sure, we had spoken a few months ago, and we were supposed to meet for breakfast. But something came up, and I had to cancel. We never rescheduled. We exchanged a few emails. Breakfast never happened. So many things don’t happen that should.

Time sure flies.

His brother drove up from Virginia early Saturday morning. We were talking in one of the waiting areas. It turns out they hadn’t spoken in three years. There was no fight. There was no particular “event.” It’s just that one month turned into two and two months turned into three and so on and so on and so on. I am sure, like all siblings, there were some issues, but the best I could sense, the calendar just kept flipping.

Time sure flies.

I know things were not “perfect” at home nor work, but none of us are in a perfect situation. Honestly, what does perfect even mean? I don’t think there is such a thing. That’s just reality.

I am sure RW was angry about the changes in his previous industry. He was pissed about getting downsized from his old company. The owners were his close friends. I’m sure he felt hurt and betrayed. It must have felt like getting punched in the gut and then being kicked out of the family.

He probably beat himself up mentally. We all do it. I did it. I wasted two years of my life doing it. I wrote about it here.

I am just speculating on his emotions. The sad truth is I don’t know what or how my friend felt because I had not seen him in two years.

What I do know is that when you are south of 50 years old and your liver and kidneys shut down, chances are you have spent a considerable amount of time ruminating about how you wish things were or overly obsessing about how you want them to be.

It’s easy to believe the stories we start to tell ourselves. Mark Twain said it best, “Most of the worst things in my life, have never actually happened to me.”

I just wish I had made a stronger effort to see my friend. Maybe I could have helped. I know many tried. I don’t know why I think I could have made a difference. What would we all give for a mulligan right now!

Time sure flies.

Today, I listened to the song “Anthem,” by Leonard Cohen, another titan that recently passed away. Many of the song’s lyrics seem apropos today.

“Ring the bells that still can ring
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything (there is a crack in everything)
That’s how the light gets in
Ring the bells that still can ring (ring the bells that still can ring)
Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack, a crack in everything (there is a crack in everything)
That’s how the light gets in
That’s how the light gets in
That’s how the light gets in.”

It is so unfortunate that it always takes a life-altering event to remind us of what is truly important.

We think we don’t have the time until we are forced to make the time. Then we realize we had the time all along.

Remember yesterday is gone. Tomorrow may never come. All we have is now. Call a friend. Hug a sibling. Listen. Smile. Breathe. Be present.

With profound sadness in my heart, please, “Rest peacefully, my dear friend, RW. You will be missed and know that I am here for your wife and daughter.”

Time sure flies.

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