Some of you may have noticed over the last few days I sort of dropped off the radar. More of you were probably off having fun, and likely assumed I was also wrapped up in the extended 4th of July festivities that stretched over two weekends and cut the work week down the middle. As holidays go, the 4th usually tops my list. Kicking back with some friends, enjoying barbeques, hanging out on the beach and watching fireworks. Not standing in a cemetery and watching a young friend laid to rest.
Some funerals sting more than others. Though it’s never easy to lose someone, it’s easier to come to terms with their passing when they had a long, full life. But when it’s someone with so many years ahead and so much potential, someone with such incredible vitality, someone who touched the lives of so many around them, the loss hits hard. And it’s times like these make you step back and take stock in how you’re living your own life. It makes you wish you’d taken more time for the people and things that really matter, and it makes you realize that perhaps it’s time to start, before the next box goes in the ground and the chance is lost. There isn’t a do-over button in this game. We all go day to day, rushing around, wrapped up in our problems and worries, losing sight of the fact that we really need to take time for those who matter. Take the time while it’s there to take, because this is life, after all, and in the end, none of us are going to make it out alive. Take time to laugh with friends while they’re still above ground, because meeting up in a cemetery is a lousy place and time for a get-together. You taught us all some great lessons, John, right to the end, and beyond. We’re going to miss you, but for those who knew you, we’re going to live life and celebrate your memory.
As I wrote this, another friend posted her reflection on John’s passing, and she so perfectly put into words what made John special and why he will truly be missed.
Recently a friend and coworker of mine died. The fact that he changed me as a person makes me so happy and mourn the loss of a great person even more so. He was a man who lived life to his fullest, for better or for worse. Never have I met somebody who so kindly tried to encourage me to come out of my shell, while still being entirely respectful of my wallflower tendencies. It would be a disservice to his memory to stay locked away. Because of him I have decided to stop being afraid to live life.
R.I.P. John Vaillencourt. The most genuine bullshit artist you’d ever meet. Always the life of a party, a loving father, and someone who wore his faults proudly but could win over anyone with his cheer and good heart.