A man was remembered on Saturday.
A man is being remembered today.
A man will be remember on Sunday.
One was a sudden death after a Stage 4 cancer diagnosis. Another was due to natural causes. And the other took his own life.
Three men died within a week of each other. Each were born in different eras. Two served in the military with one serving in a war. One had lived long enough to see his grandkids grow. One took care of his family, including his 90 year-old mom. And one, was beginning his family life with two young children, including a newborn.
They seemingly shared no common bond other than the fact that I knew each of them.
As I reflect on each man, I realize that sports was a part of each of their lives. Two shared a passion for running. One was a coach, teacher, mentor and yes, even an athlete long into his golden years.
Sports was a part of their identity. You say their name and you pictured them in their sports element. Whether it was running in the neighborhood or in a popular running event or standing in the third-base coaches box, I can see them in their sports moments.
The emotions I’ve felt have ranged from sadness to shock to melancholy to regret. But, isn’t that how it usually is? Sadness and death go hand-in-hand for those who remain. Shock at the suddenness of two of them. Melancholy at the memories – some fresh, some clouded by time. Regret at not having said one more hello instead of one last goodbye.
Some say 2016 was a horrible year for celebrity deaths. Even I would admit that it seemed as though it was a year that pierced the heart of my youth. Prince’s death was one that hit me hardest. For better or worse, Prince had a tremendous impact on my teenage years.
But, 2017 isn’t starting off all that well either.
No, these men aren’t celebrities. Truth be told, only one was a man of notoriety in high school baseball circles from a previous era.
They didn’t impact the world in ways that are known to today’s social media world where every action or feeling is shared and every post is dissected, repackaged and claimed as one’s own. They weren’t interested in the soap boxes and bully pulpits of that social media has become.
Their impact is left in their legacy. Their legacy is left in those still on this earth. Parents, siblings, children, grandchildren, aunts, uncles, nieces, nephews, friends, players, students, teammates and coworkers.
They (we) are the ones who must work that out in our lives. We exist for a time in mourning, but ultimately we must chose to move forward and live.
We honor or tarnish the legacy by how we live and treat others. If their legacies were ones of respect, love, compassion, passion, etc…then that is how we should live. We learn from their mistakes in an effort to improve our own lives.
No man is perfect.
We are all “in process”. We triumph. We fail. We learn. We teach. We play. We rest.
One man was remembered on Saturday.
One man is being remembered today.
One man will be remembered on Sunday.