In memoriam: 3 friends lost in 3 weeks

It’s not supposed to happen this way.  Clent Richardson dies at age 52 or so.  Bonnie Swymer at 52.  Klaus Kjaer in his early 70’s.  They all passed away in the last 3 weeks.  Like a wave of mortality crashing over my otherwise serene life.

It gives you pause.  And makes you reflect on how precious – and short – life can be.

My advice: follow your passion.  Happiness is about pursuing your dreams and passions.  Say no to shit jobs, shit bosses, shit towns, shit whatever.  Period.  No excuses.

It’s also time to celebrate these people and what they gave to the world.

Clent was the best business partner I ever had, with the exception of my current one.  He and I were engaged in an effort of transforming a company.  Having somebody you can trust completely makes the effort of driving change so much easier.  And tolerable.  He was a loyal and devoted husband and father.  He lived in several places around the world, and was worldly as a result.  In a good way.  He grew grapes that apparently make for awfully good wine.  How do you match that?

Bonnie was somebody I knew less.  But I know her husband, and know the truth in the adage that behind every good man stands a great woman.  When a man worships his wife as Rob did Bonnie, you know there’s something special about her.  I bore witness to both their good times and times they were building for something better.  She was the same supportive person, always.

Which leaves Klaus. They broke the mold for him.  For 25 years in a row, with a couple exceptions, I spent a long weekend with him and a couple dozen buddies playing golf in the mountains of New Hampshire.  Klaus helped define what the trip is all about: brotherhood, jokes, learning to swear in Danish, drinking good wine (Amarone was a particular vice of his), gorging on lobsters and steak.  This trip is a highlight of the year.

Klaus was as close to a playboy as I ever met.  He knew the intimate details of living “la dolce vita”.  From the best towns to stay in Switzerland to the best vineyards in Italy, to ski areas in the Alps that only a local would know about.  Or Klaus.

Klaus was such a strong personality that I can only imagine living with him.  Which explains why three women each took a try at it.  In all seriousness, Donna was a source of strength, love and stability that made Klaus a whole person.

In the swirl of sadness, memories, funny stories and all the feelings of loss, I can only hope that these people inspire me to live my life to the fullest.  Every day.


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