I haven’t felt much like blogging about weightlifting or cooking or zombies this past week because a friend of mine died last week. A guy seemingly in the peak of health, he died one day before leaving to compete at Masters Nationals. His training had been going well and he expected to win. He had a heart attack while driving on the interstate, and was gone before the paramedics got there.
I have not had to deal with a lot of death in my life. The only three funerals that I can remember going to are my grandmother’s, my grandfather’s, and most recently Mark Rippetoe’s father. All three were sad. But none of them seemed tragic. All three were the result of age or a long battle with disease, and none of them were unexpected. And in each case the person who passed away had led and long, useful, and good life. The sad feelings I had were more for the people, family and friends, left behind.
As a teenager, I felt really bad for my Dad when his mother died. I don’t think he ever really cut the apron strings till she died, he was always very close with his mother and she was a big part of his life. I remember the day she was diagnosed with lung cancer. I remember her fried chicken and corn bread. I also remember that I loved how she put lots of butter on top of Totino’s pizzas and was very overweight and had a ton of health problems. I was in my 20’s when Grandpa died. He was over 80 and had been declining physically for a while. I took him to Braum’s for a strawberry milkshake the day before he died. Man did he love milkshakes at Braums, lol. He stumbled walking to the truck and I had to help him across the parking lot. He died the next day. I admired Grandpa a lot. I was sorry that the kids I would someday have wouldn’t get the chance to meet him. I was sorry that the world had lost a really good man. I was sorry I wouldn’t get to talk to him anymore, or take him to Braums. I really missed Grandpa, but I wasn’t really sad. He lived a full life, it was his time. I could think about him and smile. I still think about him and smile. I never knew Mark’s dad well, but I remember the eulogy Mark delivered at his funeral. One of the most heart felt and emotionally moving things I have ever heard. But not in a sad way. I heard closure, love, respect, and maybe a bit of new understanding that the son had never had before death had made him peer a little deeper into the life and mind of a father he obviously loved.
But it is different when someone dies suddenly and unexpectedly, when seemingly in great health. It’s kind of like a kick in the nuts. I really can’t believe Jim Davis is gone. I expect to see him when I walk in the gym. When I learned that he had died, I wanted to throw up. This is the first time in my life I have felt that way about a friend or family member passing away.
I went to his memorial service today. And you know what? I really didn’t know the guy at all. I didn’t know his wife. I knew he had kids, but I didn’t know their names. The most I knew was that his daughter went to college in Texas. I didn’t know he liked camping, or golf, or bowling. I didn’t know he was the chief compliance officer for Templeton mutual funds, and was respected world wide in the financial community for his honesty and integrity. I didn’t know much about his personal life or professional life.
I did know he was a really nice guy. I know he liked to debate almost any topic. I know I am sorry I won’t ever again hear Jim say “well, actually…” to anyone. I know the man was a pretty good weightlifter. I know that he was a very generous man. I know that he was a good man, who had my back on several occasions. I am glad that i had the chance to thank him for the numerous things he did for me, and the lifters I coach. I know I am really sad that I won’t see him tomorrow in the gym. I know that I think I would be satisfied with my life if people were thinking the same things about me when I die as they are about Jim right now.
I guess life goes on. And I am kind of proud to be one of the people for whom life will be a little less rich now that Jim is gone. RIP Jim Davis.