I sent this message and more to my subscribers and have nothing left this week. My energy, my mind, and heart are elsewhere. For those who’ve seen this previously, I apologize. Originally written Monday, June 27.
I woke up this morning as I usually do, optimistic at the slightest hint of light.
It lasted only a few moments. Then the heavy weight set back in. I remembered the morning before when I opened my eyes again after lying in one of my nephews beds, waiting. I was waiting for my great nephews, 3 and 6 to wake, and to sit on the edge of the bed while my shattered niece told their uncomprehending little faces their daddy had been hit by a car while riding his bike. He’d gone to heaven.
“How did daddy get to heaven?”
“God took him, baby.”
“Was God riding his bike too?”
When the oldest returned from a slumber party the news was painfully understood. He knows daddy isn’t coming back.
I share this with you with hesitation. This is very personal and very raw. In fairness to you, it’s not about exercise or nutrition that was the reason you and I first met. Allow me this day to tell my story.
The details of this terrible bicycle accident would tear a stranger up. He had married his high school sweetheart. They were neighborhood friends before that living a few houses away since grade school. They were a perfect pair, these two. Bill and Bri. They together would raise these three boys with united Midwest values. He did everything well. He was Google smart, literally a respected computer engineer and in charge of Google docs. He was an athlete, competitive in cyclocross, often landing on the podium and in this Boulder CO environment there is plenty of competition.
He was doing what he loved. He was filling every minute. He was less than 2 miles from home and then headed to dinner to celebrate his 12th anniversary with his wife. He was careful, safe, and perhaps he took calculated risks at work or on the cyclocross trail but he didn’t with his family nor on the road. A random act took the life of someone who was never random in life.
I lived with Bri and Bill for three months. She is my niece and I’m especially fond of her as I lived my college summers with her family when she was a toddler. I think of Bill as my nephew but he is not my blood relative. The generosity of his opening their home to me whispers of his giving nature.
I had my own room and space yet I had the opportunity up close to observe tender times he pulled one of the boys into his lap after a hurt or the firm way he delivered a reprimand one of them needed. There wasn’t much he couldn’t do. If we had a question about something, ask Bill.
When they moved to Boulder from San Jose in part to be so much closer to their Midwestern roots and family. They fell in love with the community. It truly is everything Bill. Technology, biking, outdoors and they found a neighborhood and friends reminiscent of the Midwest values they shared. I asked once, how they liked Boulder and if they ever saw themselves moving. The answer I got instantly was you’re going to have to bury us here.
It’s too soon. He was supposed to grow old.
We still have that chance. Every day we have the opportunity to live life fully and honor lives like Bill. Or we can, like I imagine I will the first time, fear riding again, having to round that same corner that was his last and live with reserve instead of full out.
Bill’s entire family keep hoping we’ll wake up soon and it will have been a nightmare and over. But it won’t.
Please just don’t take each breath. Take it deeply. Don’t live in the shadows. Get your face in the sun. Encourage someone else to do the same. You will feel more deeply, love more deeply and ultimately you may hurt more deeply because of it. You must take them both.
We are frustrated and confused. Mostly, we are heartbroken as all of us, his parents and siblings, his wife and each of us who embrace them gather in his home and homes in Boulder.
We will depend on each other more fully forever now. We have more wisdom than we wanted. We’ll think of him every time we see a bike. Every time we see a RallySport jersey. Every time his boys share a “my dad loved…” or “my dad did…” with pride as they’ve always done.
Today, do something to live your life more fully.
Tomorrow, do something again.
I don’t share this to ask for money but I have been asked about making donations. You can learn more about it here.
Do know that it was important to me to share this. I am and my entire business and existence is transparent. I live what I do and I love what I do. It’s my life’s work and sharing a part of my private life is a must for that to be true.
Some reading this will leave, perhaps thinking this is not “professional.” I’m OK with that and hope that you will stay knowing it is “personal,” it’s all personal.