When I said, “I feel like more people have helped me along the way in my life than I could possibly ever help”, he said, “Now, wait a minute. I doubt very seriously that could be true.”
He always offered encouragement and was quick to point out when others sold themselves short—including me. I was also allowed to call him out on it because he did it too.
He was one of the sickest men I have ever met from agent orange exposure in Vietnam, but one the most giving. Since I met him, he has died many times and been brought back. After more than four years of being dead man walking with aneurysms ready to blow in various parts of his body and minimal heart function, his heart is now at rest.
I heard today that he died last Friday.
When he talked about dying over the course of the last four years, he said, “I have been blessed and have lived a good life.” He wanted to spend whatever time he had left giving as much as he could and enjoying his life as much as possible in between his dialysis schedule three days a week.
He recently lost his best friend to suicide and I am sure that took a toll on his overall health.
It was because of my Duke that he and I connected years ago. Duke and he formed an immediate bond and my bond followed.
He didn’t talk highly of himself because of his past, but I couldn’t find a negative word to say about him in the time I had the pleasure of knowing him. His take on giving was similar to mine. We choose to give without any expectation of anything in return. If we have it to share, we will share it with our whole hearts.
I watched him give to others freely and lovingly over the years. It made him feel good to do it and I would imagine that he has helped out a heap of people himself, although he would share very little about it. He was humble, courageous, like Rain Man with numbers, and truly knew he was blessed to be alive each and every day I knew him.
I was honored to know him, love him and admired his strength of character. What he has contributed to this life will live on in all of us who had the privilege of crossing paths. Rest easy, friend. You will be missed.