The holidays are among us and this is the time of year when we slow down and spend quality time with our friends and family. It’s very important not to take advantage of the limited time we are able to spend with those who are close to us and to build memories that will last a lifetime. Balancing the demands of work and prioritizing time with family and friends is vital to our well being and the well being of those we love. It’s important that we live each day with purpose, both personally and professionally.
While the holidays tend to bring us together based on historical family behaviors and commitments, we need to determine how to make these commitments more consistently throughout the year. It could be as small as being home on time every night for dinner with the family, or setting goals to meet with important people in your life often enough to remain involved for support and friendship. There are very few things more important in life than the time we spend with our friends and family.
A few weeks ago, I was thinking of a close friend of mine that I had not seen for nearly two-and-a-half years. We grew up together and were extremely close, spending nearly every day together as kids into young adults. We went through just about everything together and I’ve always considered him one of my very best friends. It’s amazing how fast the time had gone by with how busy work and life tend to be. We’ve talked in recent months and shared messages back and forth about needing to get together and catch up, but it has always resulted in a rain check for one reason or another.
I was at the office last week on Tuesday morning and while going through e-mails and returning calls as usual, I received a text message on my cell phone. It was from my friend’s brother stating he was not sure if I still had the same phone number, but to please call him if I got the message. I thought it was strange so picked up the phone right away to call. Something about the message caused me significant discomfort and obviously I wanted to find out the reason for the message.
When his brother answered the phone, I could tell there was something not right. Before he told me what was going on, in my head I was running circles as to what it could be. I was afraid my friend was hurt or that something happened within the family. What he began to tell me was much worse. His brother and my dear friend had just passed away in his sleep. My heart dropped and I didn’t know what to say or do. He was only 34-years-old and in excellent health.
Needless to say, I had one of the most challenging weeks of my life, and my life will never be the same because of it. I am thankful that he passed peacefully and without pain, but much too soon and it still feels unreal. He was a wonderful person and loved by many and I hope he knew how much he meant to me personally. It’s painful to look through our messages together on my phone and realize all the missed opportunities we had to spend time together in recent months. I know that I can’t live with regrets and I know that he would not want that either, but this has been an ongoing challenge for me.
I wanted to share my story because I feel it is important for everyone to hear. I have never personally experienced something like this before and it puts things into perspective as to what is important and what is not in life. Life is precious and fragile and we need to live every minute of every day. My suggestion for all is to cherish time with friends and family and make commitments instead of rain checks.
R.I.P Zach … You will be deeply missed, never forgotten, and your life will be celebrated.
Andy W. Harris, CRMS is president and owner of Lake Oswego, Ore.-based Vantage Mortgage Group Inc. and 2010-2011 president of the Oregon Association of Mortgage Professionals. He may be reached by phone at (877) 496-0431 or e-mail [email protected]
or visit AndyHarrisMortgage.com.