You would have liked him. He will be greatly missed. His name meant, “Truth,” so that’s how I’ll refer to him here.
Truth was a brave romantic. He smuggled his fiancé back into the US and married her. He was a winning athlete in his 50s, a cancer researcher who was awarded several patents, and a man who served in children’s ministry before he was married.
I knew him most as a manly man, a prudent risk-taker, and a fellow who for more than a generation showed love to people who could never repay him. Our congregation made 20+ trips to Baja build to “Homes of Hope.” He was on 90% of those trips. “Truth” later made about dozen follow-up trips providing supplemental custom help to those we had built homes for.
Over 30 years we went from acquaintances to friends, to men who spend 100+ days together in service and on vacations We worked and invested together, with both profits and losses.
We spent time for fun and adventure together, most frequently kayaking in Baja. Another dear friend joined us on those trips. We named ourselves, “The Three Musketeers.”
We had thousands of laughs, hundreds of stimulating discussions, and more than two tiffs. Truth and I disagreed about almost everything political and much about economics. The “Three Musketeers” knew each other’s most aggravating flaws and stayed friends despite our individual imperfections.
Once a month, for the last three years, we “Three Musketeers” met for a walk, talk, and sometimes a beer. At our last meeting, Truth mentioned that he did not expect to live to my current age. His heart condition was a big factor. He had already lived longer than his dad and many other men in his family.
In the end, his heart condition had nothing to do with his death. His was a fluke death that started with food poisoning, vomiting, and internal bleeding because of the blood thinners he took. There was a series of unlikely spirals through ICU, infection, recovery, medically induced coma, another round of infections, septic shock, and then death… in less than two weeks.
When you lose someone close there are always regrets. Fortunately, there was nothing important that Truth and I had not said to each other, usually respectfully and typically with a smile.
I believe we should never leave anything good unsaid or undone. It’s called “keeping short accounts,” and it’s hard. My Mom passed in an afternoon just before our Thanksgiving trip back to see her. Both my wife and I regretted what did not get said before Mom passed.
Life is short and uncertain. When you live each day as if it is your last, you’ll eventually be right. Few of us are in a hurry for that one. We all know stories of the fluke accident, the drunk running the red light, or some other sudden death. I now know the one about a fluke death that started with food poisoning. It never hurts to say, “I love you” or “I’m sorry,” or surprise someone you care about with an expression of your respect or affection.
For the next month, I’m paying special attention to memories of Truth. Instead of just recalling his good points, I aspire to imitate some of his strengths.
What about you?
Many of us need to be reminded that life is short and uncertain. Or am I the only one?
Terry Moore, CCIM, is the author of Building Legacy Wealth: How to Build Wealth and Live a Life Worth Imitating. Read his “Welcome to My Blog.”