Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Life is Still Precious

On October 30, 2010, I wrote a blog entry entitled, “Life Is Precious,” reflecting on the sudden, early death of my brother-in-law, Glen. Today, after hearing of the death of my husband’s dear friend Clent, I am revisiting the subject of those lost too soon.

Several months ago, my husband Herb and I were stunned to get a call from Clent telling us that he was suffering from rectal cancer and had been under treatment. Being the private person that he is, he had kept the news to himself for some time. Herb and I expressed our love and sympathy, and prayed for Clent and his family over the succeeding months as he went through various treatments. Just a few days ago, we received a message from Clent’s wife telling us that the latest treatment had failed and that he was moving into a hospice facility. And yesterday, we got another message that Clent had finally lost his long and hard-fought battle.

Our hearts are breaking.

Clent was only 52 years old. He had always kept himself healthy and in shape. He exercised, he ate well, he took good care of himself. He did all the “right things,” the things that we’re all supposed to do to live a long, healthy life. But this time, it didn’t work.

He leaves a beautiful wife and a young son and daughter, who all adored him. He leaves countless aunts and uncles and cousins and in-laws and friends and colleagues who are mourning the loss of this vibrant, funny, intelligent, thoughtful, charming, caring man. He is mourned by those who knew him personally and those who knew him professionally.

I consider myself blessed to have known him for the few short years that I did. I first met him at my husband’s bachelor party a few days before our wedding. He had flown from Oregon to Boston just to be with Herb. He was unable to attend the wedding itself, but it was important to him to come and support his friend in some way. Although he had never met me before, he gave me a warm hug and thanked me for making Herb happy. He was very gracious and made me feel like an old friend right away. Over the years, he made time to stop over in Boston and visit us whenever he could. That “old friend” feeling continued, as he celebrated the birth of our children with us and cheered on every accomplishment of every member of our family.

He had the gift of being elegant and cultured and incredibly intelligent but never making those around him feel out of place. He was the kind of man who brightened the world around him. He was a gracious host, a loving husband and father, a valued colleague, and a generous human being.

His death, like my brother-in-law’s, reminds me that life is still precious. It makes me want to hold my children a little tighter, tell my husband I love him a little more often, call my friends a little more frequently, and work a little harder to be gracious, patient, and generous with those around me. It makes me value every second I have with those I love. It makes me aware of how precious and fleeting those seconds can be. I am grateful for all the seconds he shared with me and my family.

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