Last week, my mom was reading the on-line edition of the Boise newspaper. She said, “Do you remember Rich Jordan?” I did remember him as our neighbor in McCall. He passed last week.
I trained her not to take out-of-state phone calls but the 208 numbers are like nectar. If they are not in her contact list, her self imposed rule is to ignore unless they call three times or leave a message. She returned a thrice caller that was unfortunately not a stranger. It was the son of one of her best friends from college. The news was not good. Earlier in the same day, we took a long hike with one of my friends from Palm Desert. She mentioned that her husband had passed many years ago. My mom pried and we learned that one day he just got off the exercise bike and had a heart attack at home.
I am at an age where a friend dying from natural causes is rare. My mom is at an age where the pool of friends becomes more shallow each week.
About ten years ago, I was on a week long 400 mile group bike ride through Northern Idaho. I had the pleasure of meeting a spry lady named Ellen that happened to be 82 years old. With the exception of one ridiculously long hill, she rode the entire course. I had dinner with her one night and challenged her to give me some advice. I asked her to dig deep into her history, wait three days, and then give me one sentence that would improve my life. On the third day, she said, “Eliminate hate from every aspect of your life.”
Like everyone else, I have one dance on this planet. Too often I get caught up in some trivial problem or squabble and lose sight of the bigger picture. This week was a great reminder to stay focused on gratitude for being alive.