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  • Thrive Detroit

Living Without Regrets

As primary caregiver for his aging father, my friend Chip had to feel overwhelmed at times, yet he never complained.  He simply cherished every moment they spent together and found joy in the little things – Dad’s delight in eating chocolate pudding, a good trip to Walmart together, a week without doctor’s visits.  They were inseparable – father and son; great friends. Suddenly, Chip’s father’s health took a turn for the worse and on January 9, 2012, Chip sent me this text message: “Dad was doing well then contracted Acinetobacter – an antibiotic resistant bug/superbug.  I need you more than ever. This is most likely fatal but has been beat in some instances. Love you. Sorry to impose but your old friend needs you. Thank you.”  My response came just 5 minutes later: “Just left you a message.  I am praying. You are never an imposition. Love you too.”

And I did pray. For both of them.  And then life got busy on my end as well.  I’d just moved to a new home.  I started a new job two days later.  I was immersed in my own challenging transitions.  Whenever I thought of Chip, I lifted him and his dad in prayer and went on about my business.  Honestly, what I didn’t do was pick up the phone and call him.  He hadn’t called, but I assumed he was just busy caring for his father.

Roughly seven weeks later, I was finally starting to get my bearings in my new situation and it dawned on me that Chip and I hadn’t touched bases in some time, nor had I received a quick update via text message.  I also hadn’t seen any Facebook updates from him, either with good news about his father’s progress or with requests for prayer.  So I sent him a quick text, “How are you, Chipper?”  There was no response, so I decided to check his Facebook wall (where you can see all of a person’s recent activity), and I was stunned by what I read.

My jaw dropped and my heart sank as I read this post on Chip’s wall: “I’m so sad right now. I just found out my friend, brother and extended family has passed on. I send my condolences to the family. And I am still trying to process this.”

My mind could not even begin to process what I was reading.  At first I thought that perhaps Chip’s father had passed away, and then, horror of horrors, it slowly occurred to me that Chip himself, my wonderful, smart, funny, charming, larger-than-life friend, was gone.  From what I’ve been able to learn from talking with one of his family members, it appears that Chip likely passed away quietly in his home within an hour of our text message exchange from a yet-to-be-determined cause (autopsy results are pending). Five days after my friend was buried, his beloved father passed on as well.

Leo Buscaglia said it best, “Death is a challenge. It tells us not to waste time… It tells us to tell each other right now that we love each other.”  Another writer suggested, “People so seldom say I love you and then it’s either too late or love goes. So when I tell you I love you, it doesn’t mean I know you’ll never go, only that I wish you didn’t have to.”  I’m so sorry that Chip had to go.  I’m so glad he knew that I loved him.  My prayer is that you, too, will be mindful to live in such a way you will have no regrets in your interactions with those you hold most dear.  Life is short.  No regrets.

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