Dear Russell & Friends,
I lost another friend to the cliff last week. This was a literal cliff, challenged by a colleague my own age, because it was there. This was a man who kept his promise to only leave his marriage by death, and did. As we gather again to support his family and to embrace the community at work I grieve in a very different way. I understood his sense of adventure and his pursuit of fitness that allowed him to do hard things. I last spoke with him 4 weeks ago when he welcomed me to CrossFit and explained why he did it. I understood, as a hiker, the draw to climbing rocks that I was just too cautious to embrace. I admired him for taking the risks that I would not take. And when he fell I do not reproach him. I don’t ask him to do it over, to live a safer life. Could my perspective be that of his bride or children the age of mine? It is honestly too soon to contemplate asking. Yet I know that her husband did not break promises. And I know that their father was a hero.
The cliff of infidelity is avoidable, and I strive to live away from its ledge. The cliff of death will touch us all in a free fall or slow slide. I honor my friend for his choices, his bravery, and his life. I grieve that we won’t enjoy his company for longer here. Our family will seek practical means to comfort and support his. In 6 weeks I’ve lost 2 friends to traumatic death. Friends within 2 years of my age. In my profession, half of the people I meet know that they are dying sooner than they expect. So yes. I think much about death even when it doesn’t brush this close. And yes. That is one of the main reasons I believe – – the hope that the dead will rise.
Pascal – – 1:16
photo credit: David Hiser, 1937-, Photographer (NARA record: 3651517) (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons