Wednesday, November 5, 2014

How He Lived

Yesterday, November 4, 2014 at 10:00am, a friend died.  He was diagnosed in March with cancer and from the moment he heard his prognosis, he didn't stop cherishing life, living life, or celebrating life.  I am paraphrasing, I'm sure, but when the doctor told him that his cancer was terminal, without skipping a beat, he said, "I've lived a great life."  Who says that?  That is a response that I can only dream of saying. I don't think that I would have that first reaction.  His friends rallied around and feted him time and time again.  Just one week ago, his friends threw him an incredible dance party.  He was laughing, dancing, shmoozing with everyone. It was his last hoorah! He wanted to leave his mark.  

Well, my dear, Glenn, you left a mark on all of us.  When I heard the news yesterday, all I could hear in my head was the music and words to Brian's Song.  The soundtrack has been playing over and over again in my mind.  I can't pretend that I was a part of the inner circle, but I feel the loss deeply.  Glenn was one of the sweetest, kindest, funniest, and most loyal people I've met.  Met him through our children's school experience.  Never had kids the same age, but somehow we clicked and spent many poker nights and athletic events side by side.  His passion for his children, palpable.  

I will never forget the incredible "Life" magazine cover of Glenn hugging his son after a terrible basketball championship loss under the hoop at City College.  It was real and raw.  He didn't care.  It was as if, they were the only two people in the gym. He was at every game of his son and daughter's ( and as a parent at our school, not an easy task).  Lots of ups and many downs, but always supportive.  Yes, Glenn had to learn to bite his tongue in the stands, and he did. He did it for his daughter.  From where I sit, he was one of the great Dads.  

The loss is great and, again, makes me beg the question, why?  Why do truly good, loved people get taken from us far too soon or ever?  It's something that I have never been able to figure.  It makes it very hard to believe in God or a higher being. Glenn, you were really taken from your beautiful wife and children, far too soon.  You have left a deep imprint in all our lives and I only hope, that I can live by your example.  It won't be easy, but I can try.  All I have right now, are these few words of love and admiration and the words of Gale Sayers about Brian Piccolo:

"I'd like to say a few words about a guy I know, a friend of mine. His name is Brian Piccolo, and he has the heart of a giant and that rare form of courage which allows him to kid himself and his opponent -- cancer.
He has a mental attitude which makes me proud to have a friend who spells out "courage," 24 hours a day, every day of his life.
Now you flatter me by giving me this award. But I say to you here and now, Brian Piccolo is the man of courage who should receive the George S. Halas award.
It's mine tonight and Brian Piccolo's tomorrow.
I love Brian Piccolo.
And I'd like all of you to love him too.
And tonight, you hit your knees:
Please ask God to love him."

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