Well, it’s been eight years today. It seems like it was yesterday, honestly. Time has really flown by, and I have had so many thoughts about him over the years that the amount is uncountable. Eight years ago today, my hero and mentor passed away.
I have been thinking about him since I got up this morning. There have been so many times over the past eight years that I have picked up the phone to call him for advice, only to realize that the long-distance charges on that call would be something I couldn’t pay. I have thought so many times how I would love to tell him a story, show him a picture, or just talk business or personal things over with him to get his advice. I know a lot of people are in the same boat I am, having lost someone close to them. I am sure they still hurt, too.
I remember that day vividly. I got the message early that morning that we needed to get to the hospital quickly. We did. When we arrived, his family, friends, and long-time doctor surrounded his bed, just holding his hand and talking with him. I remember he asked for “more juice”. I thought he meant something to drink, but then I realized he meant more pain medication. That is one of my most vivid memories of that day.
I remember that he said that he wanted my son, his grandson, to have a good day. My son was visiting his other grandparents that weekend, and the loss of his grandfather would prove very difficult for him, as it was for all of us. I told him that I wanted to thank him for loving my son. He nodded his head, and I hugged him. It was the last time I actually spoke to him before he passed away.
A few moments later, he was gone. Alone, I went into the space behind the curtain where he lay on the hospital bed. His strong, 28-year-old heart was still beating, while the rest of his 62-year-old body was not long for this world. He always waved goodbye to me, regardless of where, with just the tips of his fingers. I lifted one fingertip up and waved it at myself. Then, I walked away, never to see him again.
There are people who come and go in your life every day. There are people who change you as a person, making you into something that you will be proud of. Those people are the ones you should keep in your life. Those who make you feel bad or who don’t promote the same ideas and strengths you have, you should not. This is why, even today, his memory is alive and well in my heart and mind.
I am a better person because I knew Ken.