Saturday, May 16, 2009

Dust... Wind... Dude... (Reflecting on the loss of a dear friend)

On Friday, around 12:30 p.m. ET, I found out my dear friend, David York, had died. His heart gave out -- the very evening he was accepted into a heart transplant program. David was only 51 (or maybe 52), much too young to die, with everything to live for -- a loving girlfriend, who cherished him in sickness and in health, and a loving daughter, who was pregnant with her first child. Every time I think about him, the fact he is no more, I choke up.

The funny thing is, I only actually met David once, this last September. (More about that in a minute.) But I always felt like we were old friends.

I first "met" David several years ago, while writing a series of case studies for a client. David's company was on my list of companies to contact -- and David was the contact. And boy did he give me a hard time. It took three lengthy calls and I forget how many emails to get him to agree to do it. But by the time I finished interviewing him, which was probably by then the fourth or fifth time we had chatted, we were friends -- in fact, good friends. Indeed, he became a friend for life.

After the case study, David and I emailed and chatted on the phone frequently. He even sent me a birthday present one year, some CDs he thought I'd enjoy. (I did.) And he got me a gig doing marcom for his company, with the VP of marketing, who has since become one of my best and most loyal clients (and blog readers). In fact, she was the one who told me of David's passing.

Last September, I finally got to meet David and his girlfriend, Lisa, while they were in New York attending the U.S. Open. We met for what has to have been one of the world's longest brunches. At the end of brunch, when they had to catch a plane back to Denver, we all agreed we wished we had gotten together sooner -- and would have to get together again, soon. In fact, the spouse and I were planning to go to Denver for a few days this summer, to visit David and Lisa, while our daughter was at sleep away camp.

Overcome with grief, and in need of venting some of it, I wrote of David's sudden death this morning on my Facebook page, noting how life is too short and precious to squander. And was touched by the number of friends who left a comment. Two comments in particular got to the heart of the matter, and made me smile.

From Larissa (who often leaves comments in haiku), I got these words of wisdom: "Be excellent to each other," first spoken by Bill and Ted and Rufus in Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure. And from the same movie, blog reader Powaqqatsi wrote, "Dust, Wind, Dude."

Truer words were perhaps never spoken.

So in the name of Bill and Ted and Rufus and Socrates, Be excellent to one another, dudes. For like sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives...


EMM said...

Dude, I am very sorry for your loss. This is a reminder to always appreciate the small things in life and not to be so focused on the big picture.

..billg said...

There are others with whom I work who have known David much longer than I, but I worked together with David daily now for the last nine years and although he, that's right...was...younger than me by more than ten years, he was nonetheless like a father to me and now that he is gone, it seems to me like I have lost my father twice as my real father passed away more than twenty-six years ago and now David is gone as well. In my last conversation with him David in his inimitable way apologized to me for not having spoken to me about my mother's passing. But that was David: always completely concerned for someone else's pain eighteen or maybe eighteen hundred times more than his own. I love him so and miss him more than words can possibly express.

J. said...

That was LOVELY, billg. Thanks for leaving a comment. And so true, EMM, so true. (To that end, I really want to go back to Australia before I'm 50.)