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...and like that, he was gone...

moparedtn

I got your Staff Member riiiight heeeere...
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(The following is a sort of homage I want to pay to a dear friend. Skip it if you're
so inclined; I'm writing it as much for myself as anyone else.)


My best friend of many years passed yesterday.
That in itself isn't noteworthy, of course -we all lose people close to us over time
It's a part of life I reckon...

He passed quite suddenly and before he had become ill, he was one of those who
just never got sick, least not for long - but again, lots are like that in this world.

The difference in this case? He was my best bud - and that, given my penchant for
generally not having such things in life - makes it remarkable.
Admittedly, I'm a handful for anyone to put up with for long, intentionally so or not,
but I digress...
Let me tell you a bit about my friend Randy instead.

Randy and I are, sorry were, in the same line of work and that's how our paths originally
crossed. As being in the fire protection industry should mandate (but very often
doesn't, sadly), we both were quite good at what we did and took the gig seriously -
albeit with the dozens of stories, anecdotes that comes with doing something for many
years and in many locations - for many companies, as is also the norm in our biz.

Suffice to say, one of the few people walking this earth that had been at it longer than
me was Randy - by about 11 months over my 40+ years, as he often loved to rib me
about - and Randy had a razor-sharp sense of humor, very quickly administered.
What situations, equipment, systems he hadn't actually come across in his career,
I had - and very much vice-versa.

He would use me as a resource library sometimes, and me him as a result.
Between the two of us, we pretty much comprised an entire fire sprinkler company -
and since we both saw it the same way (life safety - do it right or go home), the
respect actually was there before the friendship came later - but boy, did we have
a blast when we got the rare opportunity, too.
I cherished those very rare opportunities when he and I would team up on a job -
it didn't happen often because either a)we worked different companies or b) both
our hourly rates as the "senior guys" kept us off the same repair tickets.
But when it did, it was always like we'd been a team for years - totally seamless,
professional, dang near psychic how we knew automatically what the other was
going to do before he did it.
You know, the way it should be every time - but often isn't.

The level of respect and friendship between us was such that when a former employer
of mine did the unthinkable to me a year and a half ago - Randy up and walked out
on them right afterwards.
What's even more remarkable about that was that the company was half-owned by
his own nephew - whom he had brought into the business as a teen and had been
at the same company with for years.
I was so angry at Randy when he did that, thinking he had done that out of some
loyalty to me - but he quickly put the kybosh on that, telling me it had needed done
for years and them screwing me over was just the last straw for him, too.
Still, amazing thing to do, leaving your own relative like that...
but such was Randy's integrity and sense of honor.

Randy was quite the jokester and came up with some of the most diabolical practical
jokes ever invented - and took great pride in them, too.
Woe to be on the butt end of one of his schemes - beyond embarrassment, you'd be
lucky sometimes not to have gotten more than that even out of the deal. :)

We could spend an hour on the phone almost daily and the conversation never got
stale - lots of laughs, stories of what we'd been into that day, what was happening
on our respective home fronts, families, cars, whatever - didn't matter, we had a
genuine good time every call and it was a highlight of my day when he'd holler from
the road.
This went on for years and years - until just recently...

Last Thursday, when we spoke he told me had taken a day off work and had the flu,
which struck me odd - he never got sick and was in seemingly great health for his
age. Heck, he always gave me grief as I went through all my cancers and such....
but Randy was a true force of nature, one of those guys who always went 200mph
everywhere and never had anything slow him down.
But by Friday, things had gotten bad enough that he walked into a clinic and had
gotten some prescriptions for what he called "the crud".
Saturday, I texted him and asked jokingly if "he was still alive" - you know, how
guys do one another.

In hindsight - that was so very, very stupid of me....

By Sunday, I couldn't get ahold of him by any of the usual methods and figured he
must just be resting.
But then Monday came and went....then Tuesday....and by Wednesday when I texted
him, instead his wife answered me - and the news wasn't good.
Long story short, Randy had gone into respiratory arrest Saturday evening and had
been in the ICU since then, in an induced coma, respiratory machine hooked up -
and fighting for his life.

His employers' office had pretty much all gotten the latest strain of kung flu and
it hadn't spared Randy either - and when it hit him, other underlying issues had
surfaced as well.
He apparently had been suffering from both untreated diabetes for years - and more
recently, "walking" pneumonia as well.
All the treatments (hospital said "per CDC protocols") and he just wasn't responding
to the meds, fighting it out for those few days, until he just couldn't anymore....
....and like that, he was gone.

As I sit here now, several emotions are waging war in me:
1. Rage that yet another truly good person was gone in my life, suddenly, without
the chance to even say "goodbye".
That **** has happened too often already and I'm well past pissed off about it.
2. Concern for his wife and family - and helplessness in that regard.
She knows I'm a call away, anytime.
You kidding? Watch how fast I move if she calls me...damn, man.
3. Sadness, the deep down kind that leaves a soul hollow.

I know I'll never have another friend in my lifetime like Randy - just like most
all of my family has long passed at this point - and it just doesn't seem like
things are right in universe that I've survived all my crap and they're all gone now.
If anyone deserved croaking, it was me in every instance - yet here I still am,
hanging out like the other pests on the planet.

It ain't right, don't care how it's explained to me, won't accept it.
God better look after Randy or He'll have me to answer to. Count on it.
 
Your story is very well said, & it hits home with me too. I don't know why I'm still here & shouldn't be, but a lot of friends, better than me, are gone, some pretty young. I just say to myself that I'm glad I knew them & had them in my life. That seems to help a lot. We just have to remember the good times we had while they were here, & we will probably meet again in the next life, or meet a person that has something about them that reminds you of your lost friend(s). Keep a chin up.
 
My sincere condolences to you and his family. Losing special people in our lives is heartbreaking. It is difficult to express the pain you feel inside, the emptiness. Knowing that if you had one more opportunity to speak to them what you would say. You see there family and know the pain that they feel. You'd like to make it all go away if you could. Memories of the people we have lost is all we have in the end. 440'
 
Sorry about your loss Ed. Very hard times right now. My condolences for you and all the family and friends.
 
The both of you are blessed to have a friendship that lasted so many years. It will continue to grow, it's just on vacation right now. Don't spend your time being angry, count your blessings and keep him close.
 
Man, that is a tough one Ed. I am sorry for your loss of such a great friend. My prayers go out to you and his family for peace in this difficult time.
 
We share some of your sadness.
Thanks for helping us meet Randy.

I keep saying to people that your life can change quickly.
 
When a loved one dies, whether a family member or friend, you understand the hole that is left in the lives of those left behind.
 
(The following is a sort of homage I want to pay to a dear friend. Skip it if you're
so inclined; I'm writing it as much for myself as anyone else.)


My best friend of many years passed yesterday.
That in itself isn't noteworthy, of course -we all lose people close to us over time
It's a part of life I reckon...

He passed quite suddenly and before he had become ill, he was one of those who
just never got sick, least not for long - but again, lots are like that in this world.

The difference in this case? He was my best bud - and that, given my penchant for
generally not having such things in life - makes it remarkable.
Admittedly, I'm a handful for anyone to put up with for long, intentionally so or not,
but I digress...
Let me tell you a bit about my friend Randy instead.

Randy and I are, sorry were, in the same line of work and that's how our paths originally
crossed. As being in the fire protection industry should mandate (but very often
doesn't, sadly), we both were quite good at what we did and took the gig seriously -
albeit with the dozens of stories, anecdotes that comes with doing something for many
years and in many locations - for many companies, as is also the norm in our biz.

Suffice to say, one of the few people walking this earth that had been at it longer than
me was Randy - by about 11 months over my 40+ years, as he often loved to rib me
about - and Randy had a razor-sharp sense of humor, very quickly administered.
What situations, equipment, systems he hadn't actually come across in his career,
I had - and very much vice-versa.

He would use me as a resource library sometimes, and me him as a result.
Between the two of us, we pretty much comprised an entire fire sprinkler company -
and since we both saw it the same way (life safety - do it right or go home), the
respect actually was there before the friendship came later - but boy, did we have
a blast when we got the rare opportunity, too.
I cherished those very rare opportunities when he and I would team up on a job -
it didn't happen often because either a)we worked different companies or b) both
our hourly rates as the "senior guys" kept us off the same repair tickets.
But when it did, it was always like we'd been a team for years - totally seamless,
professional, dang near psychic how we knew automatically what the other was
going to do before he did it.
You know, the way it should be every time - but often isn't.

The level of respect and friendship between us was such that when a former employer
of mine did the unthinkable to me a year and a half ago - Randy up and walked out
on them right afterwards.
What's even more remarkable about that was that the company was half-owned by
his own nephew - whom he had brought into the business as a teen and had been
at the same company with for years.
I was so angry at Randy when he did that, thinking he had done that out of some
loyalty to me - but he quickly put the kybosh on that, telling me it had needed done
for years and them screwing me over was just the last straw for him, too.
Still, amazing thing to do, leaving your own relative like that...
but such was Randy's integrity and sense of honor.

Randy was quite the jokester and came up with some of the most diabolical practical
jokes ever invented - and took great pride in them, too.
Woe to be on the butt end of one of his schemes - beyond embarrassment, you'd be
lucky sometimes not to have gotten more than that even out of the deal. :)

We could spend an hour on the phone almost daily and the conversation never got
stale - lots of laughs, stories of what we'd been into that day, what was happening
on our respective home fronts, families, cars, whatever - didn't matter, we had a
genuine good time every call and it was a highlight of my day when he'd holler from
the road.
This went on for years and years - until just recently...

Last Thursday, when we spoke he told me had taken a day off work and had the flu,
which struck me odd - he never got sick and was in seemingly great health for his
age. Heck, he always gave me grief as I went through all my cancers and such....
but Randy was a true force of nature, one of those guys who always went 200mph
everywhere and never had anything slow him down.
But by Friday, things had gotten bad enough that he walked into a clinic and had
gotten some prescriptions for what he called "the crud".
Saturday, I texted him and asked jokingly if "he was still alive" - you know, how
guys do one another.

In hindsight - that was so very, very stupid of me....

By Sunday, I couldn't get ahold of him by any of the usual methods and figured he
must just be resting.
But then Monday came and went....then Tuesday....and by Wednesday when I texted
him, instead his wife answered me - and the news wasn't good.
Long story short, Randy had gone into respiratory arrest Saturday evening and had
been in the ICU since then, in an induced coma, respiratory machine hooked up -
and fighting for his life.

His employers' office had pretty much all gotten the latest strain of kung flu and
it hadn't spared Randy either - and when it hit him, other underlying issues had
surfaced as well.
He apparently had been suffering from both untreated diabetes for years - and more
recently, "walking" pneumonia as well.
All the treatments (hospital said "per CDC protocols") and he just wasn't responding
to the meds, fighting it out for those few days, until he just couldn't anymore....
....and like that, he was gone.

As I sit here now, several emotions are waging war in me:
1. Rage that yet another truly good person was gone in my life, suddenly, without
the chance to even say "goodbye".
That **** has happened too often already and I'm well past pissed off about it.
2. Concern for his wife and family - and helplessness in that regard.
She knows I'm a call away, anytime.
You kidding? Watch how fast I move if she calls me...damn, man.
3. Sadness, the deep down kind that leaves a soul hollow.

I know I'll never have another friend in my lifetime like Randy - just like most
all of my family has long passed at this point - and it just doesn't seem like
things are right in universe that I've survived all my crap and they're all gone now.
If anyone deserved croaking, it was me in every instance - yet here I still am,
hanging out like the other pests on the planet.

It ain't right, don't care how it's explained to me, won't accept it.
God better look after Randy or He'll have me to answer to. Count on it.

….read and appreciated every word…..

Randy was a true, blue fellow. Awesome to have shared this.
 
I am sorry for your loss. It sounds like he was a great friend. Some never have a friend as good.
 
Sorry to read this Ed.
Life is short.
Take solace in the good memories of your buddy.
 
I feel you, seams the older one gets the smaller the circle of friends get.. those are the true friends and not to be taken lightly. There are those who pass having nothing and nobody so cherish the memories and find happiness in knowing you did the same for him as he did you, his life was better for it.
 
Thanks y'all - and rather than be all downer about this, if I could get one message to sink in with
every decent soul out there, it's that:
time is freaking wasting, get to whatever or whoever it is that needs tended to NOW.

I've been reminded too many times already that those you think are rock solid and going nowhere,
that they're safe - all that can be gone in an instant.
Don't fall for that false security - get to it!

Otherwise, you might wind up alone and old on the side of a ridge somewhere...
 
Thanks for posting, Ed. Just shows how fleeting and precious time really is.
 
Sorry Ed.
Prayers for Randy and family.
 
That sucks, man.

Close friends are family you can choose.
 
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