Barry died from cancer last week. He just turned 65. When you are 67 like Hannah and I are, 65 is young. I only knew Barry for a short time; maybe met him five times tops, but his spirit grabbed me. It certainly grabbed a few others as 1200 came to his calling hours in the nearby small town of Kittery, Maine. The few times Hannah and I got together with Barry were when we played ping pong v. Barry and his, and our good friend, George.
Throughout his treatment, Barry was irrepressibly upbeat and alive. It was said of Barry that if you met him once, you wouldn’t forget him. He didn’t waste a minute feeling sorry for himself. Never complained about the hand he was dealt. Just lived, and then lived some more.
His death gives me pause about my own endgame. While Barry’s passing leaves a hole in George’s heart, I am left with an idea how I might play my final cards. Taking some tips from Barry – Laugh. Be spontaneous. Remember it’s all about family. Be a little or a lot outrageous. Live with joy each day.
I believe, Today is a loan. Use it wisely, especially at 67.
No surprise that his memorial service was standing room only. His sister-in-law included these words in the program.
As Barry pedaled toward the Pearly Gates hootin’ and hollerin’, St. Peter waved him through. “No need to stop here, we’ve been waiting for you. You did your job on earth in great fashion. No one who met you there will ever forget you and the laughter you brought to them. There are lots of folks here that have been waiting to meet you. Get to work!”
My final words are from Richard Bach’s Illusions that I recited at my brother-in-law Doug’s memorial service thirteen years ago when he passed at the age of 56. Here is a test to find whether your mission on earth is finished: If you’re alive, it isn’t.