I blogged about Prince dying a couple days ago. Turns out, that wasn't the first death to throw me for a loop in the past few days.
After Prince, news broke Friday that the wife of comedian Patton Oswalt had died. Oswalt is my favorite comedian; his bit on how "Christmas Shoes" is the worst holiday song ever is several minutes of pure brilliance. His wife was 46, in good health, but died in her sleep. Oswalt talks about being a family man often during his standup. He has one daughter who now doesn't have a mom. That news gave me pause, but nothing like what happened today.
Lori's boss/business partner/good friend was killed in a car crash this afternoon. She got the news about 6 p.m. from her office's general agent. I was grilling when she came outside, stunned, and said he had died. He also was 46 and has two sons, one of whom is Michael's age and would hang out with us on occasion during the summer when he was staying with his father (he lived out of state).
The crash was a single-car accident; Lori's boss simply missed a turn and drove off the road. His fiance survived with non-life-threatening injuries, but according to the Facebook posts that we're seeing, was seriously in shock, wondering what happened, where his engagement was, and if anyone had told his future stepsons what happened to their father. The couple planned to marry this summer.
I'm coming at all this bad news, especially the last tragedy from two angles. First, no matter how much I'm feeling sorry for myself or wish the things that are stressing me out could not be so burdensome, I'm lucky be in a place where I and my family is healthy and (at least in my case, relatively) happy. I can muddle through sucky days and occasionally lose some sleep, but at least I get to see the next day sadness-free.
Second, I have goals, dreams and plans -- to be a better father and husband, to be happier and less stressed, to be more productive, and to think at the end of every day "Damn, this was a great day." Down the line, I don't want to feel any regrets that I never fulfilled those goals, dreams and plans. Thinking I have years to proceed with my blueprint is not wise, because as these three tragedies have demonstrated, something unexpected might intercede. Obviously, some courses of action aren't immediately feasible, but delaying working toward them can mean you never do.
Amid this sadness (and tonight, my stomach is churning from the terrible news we got five hours ago), I'm feeling a little bit of resolve. No excuses, no waiting, no regrets. Be great today. Be great every day.