Tuesday was a rough day. Rather, Tuesday started rough and ended in heartbreaking fashion.
We got word that Camp Davis suffered some damage from all our recent storms. A tree fell on the front corner of the old farm house, causing what sounds like minimal damage, but knocking the power lines clean off the house in the process – something that will require an electrician and money to fix. It also means that the place is going to stink something awful when we go to inspect it, seeing as how a freezer full of meat and whatnot has sat without power for a week or so in the midst of this searing heat wave we’ve experienced out east.
Then, while we were out shopping for some baby clothes – our first trip in the car as a family of four – we left the car lights on while we were in the store and came outside to a spent car battery. That’s not exactly the most fun thing to deal with when you’ve got two small children in tow, are creeping up on nap time and everyone is over-due for lunch.
We managed to fix it in short order thanks to the help of a nearby restaurant manager/good samaritan. During that time, however, I managed to miss calls or emails from just about every client or professional/contractual responsibility that I have. Again, nothing terrible, just straws of stress piling up as I was trying to fix an avoidable problem.
When we got home a few hours later than expected, I plopped down in front of the computer with the intention of knocking out some work. That’s when I learned that a childhood friend had just passed away. JT was 29 years old, leaving behind his toddler son and pregnant wife among countless friends and family. He died of a seizure while on vacation with his family at the beach.
Like many others who knew him, I’m still trying to process the news. Instantly, my mind flew back to the many middle school sleepovers at our buddy Mike’s house and the shenanigans we’d get ourselves in to. I thought back to the regular boxing matches we had and the handful of times I foolishly agreed to spar with JT, only to call it quits a few minutes later because “my head hurt.” JT would go on to have an unparalleled high school football career, racking up video game stats in the process, and then having a good career as Marshall University’s starting middle linebacker throughout the early 2000′s. Why my scrawny self ever thought it was a good idea to join him (the eventual 250lb middle linebacker) in a boxing match – even in middle school – is something I’ll never fully understand. The advantages of youth I suppose.
I know that these things happen, that life is unpredictable and short – sometimes very short – and that death is inevitable. But a guy like JT always came across as something close to superhuman. And then out of nowhere…
We were on nearly identical daddy-tracks. Our sons were about the same age, and our second babies not far off either. My heart pours out for his small family. I can’t even comprehend.
I want to talk about what this all means to me, about how I’ve been reminded to live life to the fullest, to stop taking for granted what I have, to cherish even those sleepless nights – because that is living, to find fulfillment on JT’s behalf – to love my small family every day – because his chance was taken, to stop whining about power outages (seriously – power outages?!), and to focus on what really matters, because no time – none – is guaranteed.
But it feels so small right now.
Goodnight JT. I’m so sorry man.