Punctuating Life

Today was a big punctuation mark in life. An emphatic stamp in life, to mark a life. To mark it’s passing, from life. I was at the memorial service for a dear friend who just left us. There have been too many of these over the past few years. While I never considered the option of not going to the service, I didn’t really want to go. As if my not attending could somehow change the reality of his passing.

I guess that punctuation mark also came a few days ago, when I received news of his passing.

Or several weeks ago when we re-connected over lunch, catching up on a friendship that spans three decades.

Or a couple months ago when he told me that he had an incurable cancer.

But today, the punctuation hit home.

Today was a comma, causing me to pause and reflect on a life well lived. A time to refrain from rushing through my busy life, and remember a friend who helped make me into the man I am today. A time to pause, connecting with the various groups of friends he touched over the years, sharing stories, laughter, and tears over his profound impact in our lives. A moment to be there for his lovely wife, and his amazing children, offering whatever support my presence can bring.

Today was a colon: listing his significant life accomplishments and the contributions he made to community. Realizing that I was just a part of a small section on the large quilt of this man’s life. It was wonderful to learn of his:
athletic endeavors
academic interests
hobbies and passions
community involvement

Today was a collection of quotation marks, noting treasured “life lessons” captured in the precious words of my friend. Two quotes especially stood out to me.
“I want to make the rest of my life, the best of my life.”
“Grace is the key.”

Mostly, today was an exclamation point, where we emphatically celebrated a brother, friend, son, husband and father who has crossed the finish line, passing from the beautiful, fragile, broken world into a glorious eternity. To celebrate how beautifully and wonderfully made this person was, and how each of our lives is specifically enriched because of him. Well Done!

Undeniably, today was also a period. An ending. A time to stop. To grieve. To mourn. To be.

But an ending that allows for a new beginning.

While I hate going to these services, simply because it means I have lost a dear friend or someone special in my life; I am always blessed through the experience. Through the grieving. Through the coming together to celebrate a life, and to bid a dear soul farewell, for now.

So Eric, thank you for punctuating my life. Thank you for being a friend, mentor, confidant, and brother. Thank you for adding meaning, clarity, interest and character to the pages of my own story.

Well done. See you soon.


7 thoughts on “Punctuating Life

  1. Well Done. This post is a reminder of these are the two words I’m really only after. It reminds me that Faith is also Faith in timing, which can be so hard. Thanks for trusting me with this post. You have continued prayers for peace!

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  2. I pray for you and your friend’s family. These endings are hard, but God blesses us with memories of beginnings: beginnings of friendships that we blessed to enjoy for decades.

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  3. This brought up painful memories of my own dear friend’s death from cancer 4 years ago (HOW could it be 4 years ago already?!) on Memorial Day weekend, the evening of Libby’s high school graduation party. What a difficult time that was. We especially miss him when big occasions like more graduations and now Libby’s wedding roll around. We want him here to celebrate! However, like you, I remind myself that it was just a new beginning for him, and we need to celebrate the wonderful, sweet person that he was. He made a great impact on our lives. Thanks for re-posting this!

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  4. A beautiful tribute to a dear friend. It speaks to me, in a familiar way. My stepdad punctuated my life and as I work through my own grief, I shall return to this post, and be reminded of how fortunate we all are to have had such special people in our lives. My sincerest condolences on your loss.


  5. Wow that’s so touching. Your ability to see this day in so many ways is a reflection of how he touched your life and how you know this is not the end. I’m sure your friend knows how much you meant to him as well.


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