Saturday, August 8, 2009

Life Is Fleeting, Folks . . .

Just got off the phone with my dear, beloved father. Like almost any phone call with The Man That Planted His Seed to Give Me Life, he buried the lead and took 20 mintues to get around to telling me the most shocking news I've heard in a long, long time (that didn't involve John, Kate or Billy Mays). I shouldn't joke - there is nothing funny about what I'm about to type.

My father's cousin, Mary Beth's husband, Richard, has died. Richard was 55. He was a very heavy man (I don't know if he ever topped me on the scale but it is safe to say we might have broken an elevator together at our joint heaviest). Richard had a heart attack in the shower and then coded at the hospital. Poof. Life over. Lights out. Widow. Three kids (only two fully grown and out of the house). Sadness for all that knew him (like many heavy men Richard was charasmatic, charming, funny and genuine in a way that you have to experience to understand).

What really gets me about this story is that Richard had JUST started a new journey in his life. He had made a very hard decision and - just three weeks ago - had gastric bypass surgery. He'd already lost 42 pounds (the same amount I lost in my first three weeks) and he was, by all counts, feeling wonderful and was very excited about what was ahead of him.

I've said before and I'll never stop saying it again . . . I am a very, very, very lucky man. Lucky to be alive. Lucky to have had this surgery when I did. Lucky to have a wife that loves me. Lucky to have a family and friends that support me and cheer for me no matter what. Lucky to have the good luck that allowed me to escape 530 pounds with nothing to show for it but some excess, hanging skin and a left calf/ankle that I'll probably always be embarassed of.

It is impossible to say what Richard's life could have been like if he would have gotten another six months of a year under his belt following surgery. It is impossible to say what happened the other morning, in the shower, to cause his heart to say "enough already, I can't do it" but it is easy to say that his heart and the 30 or so years of life that was lost will be sorely missed by those that loved, knew and came in to contact with him.

God rest you, Richard. God bless you, Mary Beth.
And thank you, God, for letting me escape my pass and get along on this journey I walk.

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