My friend and family member, Tim, lost his battle with cancer a few days ago. Prior to his diagnosis, Tim was the healthiest person I’d ever known. He exercised regularly and ate healthy foods, but more importantly, he approached life with energy and enthusiasm. Tim was a “doer.” He was never one to sit and watch someone else or wait until later to give something a try. If an idea entered his head, he went for it with gusto.
In his younger years, his cousins played in a band. Although Tim didn’t have a music background or training, he wanted to be part of the band. A huge Buddy Holly fan, he decided he’d sing the Buddy Holly tunes. He poured his energy into learning all the words and performed the songs with the happiness of a kid on Christmas morning.
A few years later, he decided that he would love to own a sandwich shop. While many people would consider something like this, the pragmatic side often wins out and they decide against it because it might cost too much or be too much work. That was never Tim. He just did it. He bought a place and opened up a sandwich shop. The sandwich shop failed and he lost some money, but he would never tell you he regretted doing it. He truly lived life with no regrets.
Tim did things that most people think of doing but never get around to. For others, something always comes up that’s more important or it seems too expensive or now is not the right time. Tim decided he wanted to go see The Kentucky Derby with his wife. So they went. Then he thought they should see The Preakness. They did that, too.
During this time, Tim and his wife, JoAnne, both worked full-time jobs in healthcare. They weren’t independently wealthy or free as a bird. They just made living a high priority and made memories that would last them a lifetime.
They went to the Pebble Beach Pro-Am each year. They went to Spring Training. They bought a horse and rode it every day. They went kayaking, camping, hiking and took flying lessons. He learned martial arts with his brother. For her 50th birthday and their 25th wedding anniversary, Tim booked them a trip to Italy. This would be the last trip they’d take together, as he was diagnosed with cancer the week they returned.
Tim taught me a lot about strength as he was dying, but the things he did and pursued in his life taught me so much more about living. Not only did he unfailingly follow his dreams, even as they changed throughout the years, but in doing so, he made such an unforgettable impression on everyone he came in contact with.
I’m making a short list of things I’ve always wanted to do but kept putting off. Following through with this list and making each of these things happen will be my little tribute to Tim. I’ll be sure to drink a toast to him each time I cross one off the list because I may have never done them if it weren’t for his example.
-Play piano in public
-Paint a picture
-Take my dad to Cooperstown
-White water rafting
-Stay at a dude ranch for a week
-Be a foster parent
-Go to Germany with my German husband
-Go camping at Pinecrest every year.
I’m sure this list will continue to grow! Suggestions are welcome. 🙂