That's a morbid title. But it hit me in the face yesterday and I am just devastated.
My old nemesis, Scott died yesterday. He just turn 60 in January.
That makes him younger than me.
And it makes me realize how fleeting life is and how quickly it can be gone.
Scott and I have had a love/hate relationship for 17 years, me as writer/editor, he as publisher and in the last few years, we have simply become friends.
Yesterday, the plan was for me to take him and his partner Linda, Kangen water after attending a day-long water training in Seattle. I had figured being there between 6-7 and was right on time. As I drove around the curve leading to their house, I saw ambulances and police car with lights flashing. My first thought was, Scott, he must have had another of his heart attacks. He has had several small ones and was on medication, but the last time I had seen him about three weeks ago, he was full of beans, looked great and was feeling good. I parked on the side of the road and managed to ask a fireman what was going on and he said, "Are you a family member?" I said, "No, I just came for dinner. Is it Scott?" Of course they couldn't tell me anything, but one of them went in and told Linda I was there and so went in.
She was bundled on the couch, in shock. She had managed to call her friends Ronni and John who were there. I comforted her as best I could, but there really isn't much anyone can do in that situation.
He had been out on the patio, cleaning up his gardening in preparation for dinner, and while Linda was in the house, sorting things out, he had what must have been a massive heart attack. She didn't hear him call out or anything, but when she looked out, he was crumpled on the ground. She attempted cpr and the 911 operator talked her through it until a neighbor showed up after hearing her screaming for help. But he was gone.
Just like that.
It took for what seemed like forever for the funeral home people to show up and it was just awful having him lying out there on the cold ground. It didn't even look like him; I knew he was really gone from his body. Linda kept saying she could feel him all around her, and she just wanted to hold on to that feeling.
I have only seen one dead person before so seeing Scott like that was just numbing. At first I didn't want to look, but then when I did, I could see that he really was gone, that the physical body was there, but his spirit had left. It was an empty shell of the man that I sometimes hated and sometimes loved.
Now I realize how important it is to have all the paperwork in order. Although Scott most likely has his paperwork sorted out, Linda knows nothing about it, or very little. No one knows where his older daughter is, who is required to sign the cremation permits. I have promised to take care of everything Dockside because he has been a one man band for so long, that I am the nearest to it, although I haven't done any work for him for ages. It's things like that, things we don't think about as we live our lives, things that are too hard to think about, or ones we simply ignore, because "it won't happen to us." But when it hits so close to home, it really has made me feel so vulnerable.
It's also made me really rethink everything that I am doing, and to know I must prioritize and make my life what I want it to be. To do the things I want to do and be the person I really am. "Stuff" is not what is important. It's the people in my life who are important and my dreams and what I want to do with my life that are important.
Scott's death reminds me how fleeting our time is here in this time and space and to make the most of that time. To tell everyone I care about that I love them, to forgive those I hold grudges against, to be happy and grateful for what I have and for what I can create.
So Scott, old friend, I will miss you and our sparring matches, our work relationship that turned into a true friendship and of course, your wonderful cooking.