Live – a word I took for granted as I sat at a dinner party on Thursday night. Live as a verb was taken for granted for sure…
As I walked out of the dinner party, I had two missed calls. As I looked at the two missed call names, the time, and the proximity to these two calls happening I knew it was not good. My fears were confirmed moments later as I learned of my brother being taken by ambulance to the hospital.
He was very much living that morning when I called him as I did most days. You could always call him after dropping Hudson off at school. Who else can you call at 5:30 in the morning? The list is small. (Early flights out of DIA… I could count on calling Paul! He was known to get his “delish” on in the morning with his coffee, the paper, and his iPad.)
And now, he was fighting for his life. A battle that he would lose at 10:12 PM on Friday September 15, 2017.
Generously – a word that seems would be appropriate for a person in fundraising, now takes completely a different meaning. All I can do as I walk around is see my brother’s life that he generously gave. Was it the deck at my home in Seattle that he built? Was it the sprinkler system in Houston? Was it the back wall of railroad ties and boulders in San Diego, or the front patio with flag stone? I am walking around my home in Colorado and my brother’s generous life is everywhere… his last trip on August 8-11 he left us with new shelves, new slider for our garbage cans, hung pictures, and I could go on and on.
So, after we consulted with the doctor on Friday and it was apparent that my sweet, sweet brother would be promoted to a far better life than any social media could exemplify I caught the last flight to arrive back to Colorado. Why? My eldest had his Eagle Scout Project…. He and his troop would be building and placing three very solid benches at the local elementary school. You can see that I forgot that we were given some money for this project from our Thrivent. As we tore open the box to give everyone a shirt I couldn’t believe the words that would stare me in the face all day of this project. “Live Generously.”
So, we are left picking up the pieces. A fast, last, unplanned 30 hours. There will be no more: early morning calls, trips to wherever I live to do projects, coming on my annual Golf and Grow event, family trips, controversial Facebook posts, being an impact on my boys, loving for 20 years my bride, cooking together, getting coffee, going to Home Depot for many things, seeing Wendy’s many pics of Paul and their dog Henry… the pieces are huge, the pieces cut sharp, and the pieces are everywhere.
I am still processing…. If you have not got a call back, a text back, or an email back – I am so sorry. I am not sure when life will return to normal. Well, I know that answer – never. I think the way to put is, I don’t know when I will be able to do tasks that seem today so meaningless.
For now, I am just holding two words tight. (1) Live. (2) Generously. My brother lived full life for sure, but had he known this was it – not making it to his 60th, I think he might have done a few things differently. I know he had no idea that his heart would rip, and this one tear was going to rip us all deeply.
It was 6:00 PM, it was a Thursday, and he was going to jump in the pool, and then have his (already made that afternoon) salmon salad and probably watch the Thursday night NFL game. As he told his neighbor at 5:00 – “Hey, I am living the bachelor life for a few nights!” Wendy had flown out that morning for a wedding weekend. And then, it all came to a halt. Everything stopped with this moment…
All I know is that eventually I am going to get back to living a generous life… in the meantime I am going to breath deep and focus on the word “live,” and I am going to think deep on the “generous” aspects of my older brother’s sweet life.
I miss you Paul Norman… I so wish we had another hour, day, week, month, year, decade.