Friday, November 6, 2009

Life's Ebb and Flow

(Written last night at 8:00pm)

I'm going to take a brief break from my blogging awards, to talk a bit about two pieces of news I received today. Every once in a while you get something thrown at you that's cause for reflection, and this is one of them.

This afternoon I received a call from my HR department that one of the floaters (helpers) who comes in periodically to assist at work had passed away after a heart attack. He was in his early seventies, which probably sounds quite old to most of you, and as heart attacks go they're not uncommon for this age group. But still it was sudden and quite unexpected.

Guy was a picture of health. He espoused a healthy lifestyle; from eating right, to exercising to taking supplements regularly. He loved to talk, very rarely complained and was always incredibly positive. He was the kind of person who would comfortably walk up to a complete stranger to strike up a conversation. No matter who you were or how you were feeling he always left you in a better mood than when he found you. It's really hard to see someone like that go, and I'm choking back these words as I write. Even though we weren't close, there's a little less light in my life with his passing.

On a happier note, this morning I also received an e-mail from one of my former staff members saying that he and his wife are expecting. This is the same young man who swore not too long ago that he'd never be trapped by the 'm'-word, yet he was married in the summer and will soon be a daddy.

I've been overwhelmingly gripped by this whole 'circle-of-life' feeling, and as I sit here I don't quite know what to make of it. I like to believe that pretty much everything happens for a reason, what the reason for this is I'm not sure. But if I'm not meant to understand I know I'm meant to take something away from it.

Things like this are a litmus test for your attitude. Some would say a life was created but a life was also lost. I see it as the end chapter of a life lived with enthusiasm, replaced with hope. Hope of a beautiful new life soon to be brought into this world, for a chance to experience the same. Hope that this new person will continue to love others as this man did.

So what am I to take away from this? Tomorrow when the shock has settled I'll rejoice in this man's life and the joy with which it was lived. The passion he had for people, especially women (a man after my own heart), the way he lifted those around him and the way he reminded us that life is so incredibly precious.

So Guy, my life continues without you. But it continues with elation and endless wonder, and I will forever make a conscious effort not to take a single breath forgranted. And as I know you would have wanted, I'll replace tears with smiles for all I'm thankful and recount them here for the world to see.

I’m grateful for having my life spared last year that I may experience and appreciate the amazing things which surround me every day:

-for the love of a beautiful wife, my family and friends
-for spectacular sunrises in brilliantly-coloured fiery hues of pink, orange and purple
-for all the things I don’t like. I may not enjoy them, but I cannot ever forget how lucky I am for the chance to still be alive to experience them.
-for brilliant minds who share their vision and hope
-for caring hearts who give selflessly and catch my fall, should I stumble
-for poetic souls whose prose, passed down through centuries, make love to my mind with words of wisdom, passion and eloquence. What an amazing gift this is.

I’m grateful for each and every one of you. For the bravery you've shown by baring your souls and allowing me to share in your lives. It truly is a privilege that I shall never take forgranted. And I'm grateful to be able to convey all my sappy, melancholy sentiments to all of you.

Those of you who are living a life of enthusiasm and passion know how important it is. For those of you who are still searching, may you find yours.

Life is a big, beautiful dessert which melts all too soon. Devour it, but please don't forget to taste it along the way.


  1. thanks for leaving mesuch nice comments. I am exceeding flattered! yay for nice pictures. Lemme say I have an amzing photographer.

    lovely post!:)

  2. Oh gosh Barry you have ME choked up. :) This is such a heartfelt and beautiful post. You are such a wonderful person and an amazing friend.
    I feel so sad for Guy. These days, seventy-something really is too young to pass away, especially from health-related conditions. It is such a shame b/c he was so health-conscious. I wonder if heart disease ran in his family? :(
    I smiled when you said how your former staff member swore he would never get hitched, and now he's not only married but about to become a dad. Hehe. I'm so happy to hear his good news!
    Again, this was another great post. Beautifully written.

  3. Oh poor Guy. I'm sorry to hear about the guy. And congratulations to your friend that is expecting. It's strange how life really does show you the circle of events like this. All at once. You know what's nice about your writing. Your emotion shines through it & you can feel that you mean every word you say. =)

    Thank you for your last comment. It was so on the money I was like woa he's totally right about the draining thing. Sometimes you need an outside party to show you the light. Thank you, friend. =)

  4. Valerie, Jen and Melanie thanks so much for your kind words. I think it's great that we can all share in the heartache and joy of our daily lives. Kind of pulls us together doesn't it?

    Love you guys. :)

  5. I totally understand how you feel. A few weeks ago, the father of a friend of ours passed away. He was 70 as well. I only met the gentleman a few times. He went into the hospital for some routine tests on a weekend, and was to be released on Monday. Sunday night he was eating his dinner, and had a heart attack. He was a retired Capt. of the Kitchener Fire Dept., a longtime volunteer for Meals on Wheels, and a shuttle driver for one of the auto dealerships in Waterloo. Life is more precious than we realize sometimes.

  6. Agreed Tony. Every life is precious, it makes it that much harder when the person has been so uplifting to those around him/her.

    I'm off to the funeral home in a few minutes to pay my respects.

  7. I made the mistake of initially reading this post right after my workout so of course I didn't have time to respond or do much of anything that didn't involve getting ready for work. And the little matter of not being able to see ... Barry you have this amazing ability to move me to tears ... sometimes from your silliness ... and sometimes from your eloquence. You never cease to amaze me. I'm so glad you're writing again. You truly have gift and I hope you continue to pursue it.

    You've changed so much since the accident. for the better for sure. And yes, life is so precious and nothing to be taken lightly. Despite the fact we don't like to think about it, none of us are going to make it out of this life alive. All we can do is make the very most of it, be the best person that we can be and hope we have a positive influence on at least one person in our lifetime. You've more than met that ... you've far exceeded it. And although I never met Guy, he seems to have been the same.

    Much love....

  8. I'm struggling to find some words to reply to this post. Its very sad to hear of the loss of such a fine colleague and all round great man. Especially when it is so unexpected. But your words are full of such encouragement and insight; such a wonderfully written post with lots of hope!

  9. Thanks for that Jack. I got back from the funeral home a short time ago. I can't grieve too much because he lived his life fully and seemed to love every minute of it.

    I appreciate your words, you're very kind.