I had a professor in college, my first year actually, who ended every class with, “See you tomorrow, if any of us live that long.” We all found it morbid and strange of him to constantly remind us of our mortality, but he saw it as a reminder to LIVE while we can. I never got the sentiment in that way until the day I returned back to class in my neck brace after my accident and then I got it a little too well.
I got out of class last night and had a missed call from Fenway. I thought it kind of strange because I know she knows I’m in lock-down for the next few weeks because of my Adult Development class. I called her back immediately and she told me that a friend and coworker of ours had passed. I didn’t really know what to think or feel about it, but I asked her if she was okay and she felt the same as I did. She told me the story of the day and how she found out and everything that happened after but it just felt so far away.
I could say lots of things about the random (always random) conversations I had with Chuck while hanging out in the SLIC offices. I could say a lot about him and his story and how sad it makes me that he didn’t get to see so many of his goals through after working so incredibly hard to just get to USD. I could say a lot but in times like this it always feels so trite.
I think about Holls and Jewels…and how I was there at the funerals and in the midst of all the sadness just feeling completely….I don’t know what the word is. Its a mixture of helpless, sad, overwhelmed, contemplative, and raw. Whenever someone passes I think of them. I don’t know how they did it…do it…
I woke up this morning and the thing on my mind was those old cliche words that feels so befitting: tomorrow isn’t promised. I had the urgent thought, “Do the people I love know how much I love them?” I haven’t cried until just now.
The thing I got from Chuck was the amazing resilience of the human spirit. Here is a guy who was determined on another level and despite every judgement or stereotype or odd against him, he was DOING IT. In a very sacred way, his life was his testimony. I can’t recall the last conversation nor do I have pictures or trinkets or notes or anything tangible. I do have this gift of knowing a man who accepted no excuses and touched everyone around him with his spirit.
Sometimes we get wrapped up…in all the wrong things. We get caught and tangled like lines of Christmas lights in worries and day-to-day activities that won’t have meaning or memory in the long run. I just don’t want to do that. I don’t want to forget to live.