Chuck and I met when I was fleeing the non-profit sector in my late twenties and he was busy launching yet another business venture, which eventually turned into a successful internet promotions company. As a consultant I helped him develop financial projections for his new business plan, and for months, we met in the classrooms of a local computer equipment store (snitching some of the truly awful coffee laid out for the students), as he did not yet have office space. Possessor of a hugely entrepreneurial spirit, Chuck always assumed the best of people, and he placed abundant trust in me with very little rational justification. As the company grew and acquired capital funding (and office space) I grew with it, becoming employee #5 of a staff of over fifty and learning the foundations of what has become a successful and lucrative career.
Chuck did not stay with the company for long after funding, preferring to chase down new ideas and business ventures. I stayed long enough to max out my earnings potential, and left six years ago to pursue growth possibilities at what has become my dream job. But Chuck and I always stayed in touch, and he and his wife have been fixtures at our annual holiday party. Larger than life, always the most exuberant person in the room, Chuck's enthusiasm for everything from marketing to motorcycles to cigars to food was infectious, and he was always quickly the most popular person in whatever room he was in.
On Friday afternoon I received an email from Chuck's wife. "Chuck is very sick, and I thought you would want to know." It took me a few hours to reach her by phone, and when I did, I learned to my shock that Chuck had been diagnosed with liver cancer in May, and the situation was hopeless. Hospice care began Friday, and he died at home yesterday morning.
I am so grateful to have had a chance to say goodbye to him, to thank him for his trust in me, and to tell him how much I've valued his friendship. My life has been infinitely richer for the doors he has opened for me, and it's difficult to comprehend the loss of such a brightly burning light.
And in other news, Michael took the kids to the pediatrician yesterday for their well visits. Our afternoon phone call ran thusly:
"Any news from the doctor's appointment?"
"Well, Garrick is almost 5' and Quin is 5' 4.75"."
"No, that's not right -- Quin's not as tall as me yet, and I'm 5' 4". He's 5' 3.75"."
"The nurse said 5' 4.75"."
"She's wrong. He's been keeping track of this, waiting to surpass me -- I'm telling you, he's not there yet. The nurse misspoke."
So when I got home that evening, of course we had to check, first back-to-back, then up against the wall with comparative thumbnail scratches in the paint.
Guess how tall Quinlan is?
So it was a tough day, all told.
(And, for the record, isn't it against most laws of nature for a kid to grow a full inch in two weeks? 'Cuz that's what seems to have happened.)