Last Friday, I stayed after work an extra 45 minutes. I was chatting with my friend, Mike, and the conversation was on a roll. It was one of those conversations that are usually fuelled by alcohol, although this one was not. We talked about life, friends, family, mortality and things we wanted to do “one of those days”.
Three days later, Mike was dead.
He had suffered a massive heart attack on the weekend and on Monday, he was taken off of life support. I can only imagine the devastation his family is feeling at his loss.
I met Mike through Community Theatre. I can’t remember exactly when we met, but it was before we acted together in The Underpants in 2010. Mike was the kind of person who was easy to like. He was a solid, salt of the earth guy and gave the impression of being straight-laced, but you quickly learned he had a wicked sense of humour and a fantastic laugh.
A few years later, I directed Mike in The Uninvited. We both needed to lose weight, so we proposed posting our daily weight in the hopes that “what gets measured, gets managed” was true. Mike created a google doc with some simple calculations. And we monitored our gains and losses; occasionally meeting for drinks with the person who had lost the most weight paying for the round. We kept that up for almost three years. Every day we posted our weight, we’d also add a comment about what was happening in our lives.
Last year, Mike got me hired at his place of work. Hands down, the best part of the job was being able to interact daily with Mike. He liked to laugh and I liked to make him laugh. It’s hard to believe he won’t be back; that I’ll never see him again.
Mike was a year and half older than me. We’ve both been married for 29 years and our kids are similar ages. Both of us work in IT. Both like Theatre. Both of us could afford to lose some weight. Lots of similarities.
And during that conversation last Friday, we agreed that none of us know how much time we’ve got on this earth; so, we should strive to do the things we want to do before it’s too late.
Before it’s too late…
It was a tough week because every time I turned to speak to Mike, I was greeted by his empty chair. It also kept reminding me that my own clock is tick tocking away and I am blissfully ignorant of how many hours or years I have left in the tank.
It’s so easy to get caught up in the day to day routine and let life slip by. Entropy is relentless. But every now and then we get a kick in the pants. Mike’s death is my kick in the pants.
It’s time to check up on my bucket list and make plans to get a few things done this year, if possible. Maybe add a few new items. We all need a reminder to do things and stop pressing the sleep button of life. It’s over much too soon.
What have you been putting off and when are you going to do it?
© 2017 Peter Gruner