Recently I spent a glorious morning in the field doing photography and was later running errands in the convertible with the top down and the radio up. I had been singing along loudly to some of my favorite songs, feeling joyful and carefree. In my book it was a “10 day.” One of my stops was my local photography lab where I have all of my prints done–a place where the owners, and my friends, Tony and Patrick, always make me feel welcome. It is impossible there to just “drop by” as stories are always exchanged and laughter is part of the service. It is a photographer’s version of “Cheers.”
Patrick greeted me, rather solemly and asked if I knew what happened. “Are you on Facebook?” he asked. I said that I was but that I hadn’t actually been ON Facebook in probably two months or more, busy with other things and tired of the political postings. I had decided my life was happier without Facebook.
He steered me to one of the stools in front of the computer, had me sit down and then told me Tony was dead. That he’d just fallen over in the parking lot and was instantly gone. A heart attack. He was 38 years old.
Tony was a good friend, fellow dream-follower, beauty seeker, dedicated teacher, one of my biggest fans and, the photographer at my wedding. He and I always greeted each other with a warm hug–the heartfelt kind that makes you feel good no matter what kind of day you are having. He could always answer my digital imaging questions and never was too busy to help in any way he could. He gave his business and customers 110%, often sacrificing personal time to help someone in need.
Best of all Tony could make me laugh. And he did most every time I stopped in his shop.
And now he is gone. In the blink of an eye. Amazing how suddenly life can change.
Most of us have probably experienced such tragic news at some point in our lives and probably all of us have felt the shock of suddenly losing someone we care about. It is hard to wrap your mind around the fact that this person is gone forever. That life can change in an instant. One minute we can be on top of the roller coaster, the next, at the very bottom. His wife had no idea when she sent him off to work that morning that she would never see him alive again.
I needed to write about this because it’s all I have been able to think about since Patrick told me the news. Like being in nature, writing is therapeutic for me. At first I thought I would write the story and put in a fitting quote about how important it is to live life to the fullest, or one about friendship or following one’s dreams. But none of those ideas felt right and so I will offer these quotes–all of which made me laugh, just like my friend Tony. No doubt he would have read them and laughed out loud–loudly, joyfully, genuinely, because that’s the kind of guy he was.
Laughter really is great medicine. Maybe second only to time outside.
“After twelve years of therapy, my psychiatrist said something that brought tears to my eyes. He said, “No hablo Inglés.'”
“When I die I want to go peacefully like my Grandfather did, in his sleep–not screaming like the passengers in his car.”
“I changed my password everywhere to ‘incorrect.’ That way when I forget it, it always reminds me, ‘your password is incorrect.”
“Did you just fall?” “No, I attacked the floor.” ” Backwards?” “I’m freakin’ talented!”
“After Tuesday even the calendar goes W T F.”
Click here for another post on this subject and a really good quote.