Too long for those who grieve,
Too short for those who rejoice,
But for those who love, time is eternity.
Hours fly, flowers die,
New days, new ways pass by,
Love stays. (Henry Van Dyke)
Though my heart is filled with much sadness during this time, my thoughts will not be one of despair, nor of loss, and mourning, but it is one of hope, love, and celebration. I had the good fortune of knowing Doug since early childhood, living in the same neighborhood, spending time and growing up with him and his brother Tony. I had the good fortune to call Doug one of my lifelong friends, a brother to me much like my own. We played many rounds of golf over the years before I left Atlanta, spent vacation time or just hanging out talking and discussing the world’s problems with that somewhat sarcastic bite that Doug was known for. I can attest to his talents in business, good humor, strengths but also, the gentleness and kindness, to which he personified. Doug’s wit and sometimes “dig” into those he loved were what made everyone drawn to him. Doug was the type of person who lived this life to the fullest, who took advantage of each and every minute. Always there for everyone; family, friends, or business associates he was always there to listen, give his opinion or be there for everyone. These were always the fundamental qualities that dominated Doug’s character.
Though now I may mourn the loss of such a brother and friend, I will forever cherish that friendship I shared with him and celebrate the time we had growing up together. For I believe he would want each of us to continue living our lives in the same manner he did. He would want us to laugh and continue our lives again.
And rather than to mourn his death, I believe he would want us to celebrate his life.
In keeping with that spirit of his life, I thought about the many things that Doug did to make me laugh. Such as, one time in our youth when I refused to go to any of the school dances because, I couldn’t dance. Doug did his best to teach me how to dance but I guess I wasn’t a natural dancer. I will never forget how Doug told me if anyone was ever born without rhythm, it was I. He laughed at my two left feet and to this day have problems getting up there to dance, usually rather enjoying the music from afar while everyone else dances the night away.
But, such was the way with Doug. After he married my sister Judy we reunited our families once again and became grown up best friends. We would laugh together ever acting the youths we were: weekly golf outings while laughing with each other, as we would talk about our lives, families, work, and all the other things best friends would do and talk about with each other. Family was always the top of our list as we made our change from youth to adults and later into our middle years and the changes and experiences we’ve had.
But, that’s what best friends are for; to share in the joys and sometimes in the pain & hurts that we encounter on life’s highway; Doug was a friend who was always there when I was down, to lend a hand when I needed help, and to be there as we grew and learned. He was always there to encourage me, to push me to do better and be a better person. Doug was the embodiment of this, a real and true friend, a second brother.
But, just as we impatient youths can’t wait to grow up, life unfortunately, sometimes pulls us in different directions and we grow up becoming engulfed by a cruel world that leaves little time for us to just stop and smell the flower’s sweet scent on a cool breeze. I left Atlanta in 1995 and our time golfing was cut short only the occasional round we could work in during my visits. Our last round together was arranged by my brother Ron last summer in Jacksonville Beach.
Yet in talking to Doug several weeks ago after building a deck in Oregon for friends, I was invited back to Atlanta to work on the decks around the house. In true Doug fashion, I was invited to come down, do the work but I had to leave once it was finished. He was not going to “take me to raise” and was ready to downsize his house for a home on the beach. That is a dream we both seemed to want as we grew older.
And it is that Spirit that is my dear friend and Brother Doug; and for as long as we each remember him will never be gone from us, never pass away, and will never fade. But, will continue to live in our hearts and minds. For it is the joyous memories of Doug and family members that he leaves with us; not the sadness that this life was tragically stopped and cut short, nor that for now our sight may be blurred by our tears of sadness but, that even though in Doug’s passing on to a higher plain, he leaves us with his living memory in the spirit of everyone he touched in this earthly life.
To our family; I mourn with you in our time of loss and hope that your grief will in time be replaced by the precious memories everyone has of him.