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April 22

Monday, April 22nd, 2024

“Thanks for the memories.”

A lot can be said when you see the eyes close or the last breath taken as I did when my mother passed. Or a friend. While I did not actually see this happen, I was there within 5 minutes of it. Last Thursday, my friend of 30+ years-my cycling buddy, my laughing buddy, my friend-finally lost his 14 year battle with cancer. But those 14 years were full!

Jim was diagnosed with cancer and was put through the ringer. Surgery. Chemicals. Chemo (which is chemicals). Holistic approach. More chemo. But those 14 years-as were the year before-were filled with skiing, boating, scuba diving, cycling, hunting, fishing-the list seems endless. He once took a whole winter and worked two jobs. One as a paper salesman which he could do remotely, and the other as a hot tub “fixer” in Utah. That allowed him to ski almost daily. 🙂 Jim truly lived life to the max. It was 2-3 short months ago the cancer specialist told him there was nothing more they could do because while on chemo he still developed spots on his liver. It was literally all through him. Even then he lived bravely.  I was able to drive the 150 miles to visit him every other week for 8 weeks. Last Thursday, which I figured would probably be my last visit, Jo and I were 5 minutes away from his home when Tina, his wife, called to say Jim had just passed away. 5 minutes! But now my reason to visit changed. It changed from reminiscing and encouraging my friend to consoling a hurting wife.

Jim would have wanted it that way. His cremains will be spread outdoors because, again, it was a picture of his life. The late Tim Hansel wrote a book called You Gotta Keep Dancin’ (@1985). Tim also live life to the fullest even after a mountain climbing accident led to a lifetime of excruciating pain. He closed out his book with this little ditty:

There is no box made by God nor us but that sides can be flattened out and the top blown off to make a dance floor on which to celebrate life.  (Kenneth Caraway)

Jim danced. Jim is dancing. He knew Jesus. “Thanks for the memories my friend.”

And now to you. What kind of memories will you leave behind?