I write this after reading about the sudden death of a man I have known for nearly 30 years. When we met, we were both in our early 30’s, in charge of the businesses that employed us and had worlds to conquer. Each of us swaggered when we walked, barked when we talked and felt completely invincible. The world was ours. For many, we were superheroes!
Every day, we’d put on our super hero capes and champion the causes near and dear to our hearts. We worked hard to create something from nothing while defending the rights of those who supported our efforts. Yet, we were on opposite sides of every political fence, religious altar and socio-economic platform. Me, big city born and raised, totally out of place in a small town. He, small town boy, whose actions were larger than life, as he sought to be recognized for the good he was doing. What we had in common was that those who did not like us, were the same people. The “good-old boy network” who ran the County, didn’t care for the loud-mouthed city-girl or the brash country boy.
Eventually, I left town while he managed to appease the “powers” by settling down and raising a family. When all was said and done, he found himself deeply committed to the empire I had built, becoming one of its most ardent advocates. No one ever saw that coming.
Just when he was approaching an age where the sheer number of decades of time upon this earth would grant him certain sage-hood in the community, the Angel of Death came for him. No one ever saw that coming either. Not the population that had grown to count on him as their go-to guy, nor his beautiful daughters who looked forward to the day when he would hand them over to their husbands, nor his frightened wife, whose CPR efforts could not revive him.
It seems strange that there are so many things yet to accomplish, but only one of us will be here to do that. While it wasn’t about competition, there was always a bit of peeking over our shoulders to see if the other was hot on our heels. It was as though that energy fanned the flames of our creative sparks.
I know that he shall long be remembered for going out on top! For reaching his goals, one by one and every time he put on his cape, he was ready for the next adventure. Those of us who worked with him either in business or community service projects, will don our capes one more time, in a show of respect for the memory of the undying spirit of a fellow super hero.