I’m sure you have heard the expression about life coming full circle, this past weekend, I lived it all in one day. In less than one day. A day I won’t soon forget, a moment in time, a lesson in life.
“Say the name, Grant Kinkade. No I mean it, say the name, Grant Kinkade.”
That’s how New York Life Financial Adviser Frank Chiovaro opened his remarks during the funeral for Senior Partner Grant Kinkade. Frank said if all of us who are living will keep saying Grant’s name and talk to other people about him, then until we take our last breaths, Grant will forever live on forever in our hearts, in our minds. Talk about Grant and his life. As his friend Scott Cole said, talk about Grant and his Dash. Ever hear of The Dash? I’m sure many of you have. It’s a thought-provoking poem, and one worth reading. The link to the poem by Linda Ellis:
The ceremony to say farewell to Grant Kinkade was one of the most beautiful I have ever attended, complete with singing and a video montage so moving and so heart-breaking. And yet it was simply a dot on The Dash for Grant. His life, his book has been written, now it is our duty to continue to tell his story. To re-live his Dash so the world might never forget… thousands of moments, of tiny dots comprising his Dash. As a father, husband, co-worker and friend.
And speaking of friend, as I walked out of the church on Saturday I felt my phone buzz. It was a Facebook reminder to wish a friend a Happy Birthday. That friend is Ed Nemec, the Managing Partner of my firm, who on this day, on his birthday, was burying one of his close friends, and co-workers, Grant Kinkade. It’s not supposed to be like this. Unfortunately, it’s life, doing what life does… sometimes. In the span of a few moments, I had gone from witnessing death to finding a way to commemorate a birth. On a day like that day, a Happy Birthday seemed out of place, so I modified it in my Facebook post: “On the toughest of days, I still wish you a Happy Birthday. The date will connect you and your good friend for all time. G-d bless.”
This day, a dot on Ed Nemec’s Dash, one which will mark a solemn time, yet at the same time celebrate the day of his birth, a dot to stand out bigger than most along his way.
Within a few hours, I was with my wife Debbie, driving over the Bay Bridge for a wedding for the son of our good friends, Gary & Beth Dahne. Their son Jason and his fiance’ Emily, to be married early that evening. The wedding, outdoors, on the sun-kissed shores of the Chesapeake Bay, with the wind blowing, and beautiful blue skies overhead, was simply breathtaking. A gorgeous bride, a handsome groom and plenty of love in the air. I could feel a sense of peace and happiness, sitting there next to my bride and watching two people, vowing to create a bond and create a family from that moment, until eternity, and beyond. It was an incredible setting as we watched the sun set shortly after the ceremony and the super moon rise in the sky as daylight gave way to night.
The wedding ceremony wrapped up that evening at 11pm. Just thirteen hours earlier, Grant’s funeral had begun. For anyone who has followed this blog, from the day I launched it on my daughter Sophie’s thirteenth birthday back on January 9th, knows how significant this number has been in our lives. I was once again struck at how it keeps coming back into the most important moments of our existence. In this instance, I had been through an entire cycle of life, from mourning death, to commemorating birth, to celebrating the union of two people in wedded bliss. Life, full circle, all in the span of one day, in thirteen hours. Unbelievable.
Sometimes the human heart and spirit can only handle so much. This day my heart was exhausted, from sorrow to celebration, it had been broken and repaired, broken and repaired. I was excited for Jason and Emily and their new life together, but my as I fell asleep my mind kept going back to thoughts of the Kinkade family and their time ahead. They will need all the love and support possible, as only time can provide any closure. And while time seems to speed by, at times, it moves achingly slow. This is one of those times.
For me the enduring image of the day, and one I will carry through my life, was one of such great tenderness and love. As those in attendance walked out of the church that morning, to the lyrics of “Let it Be” by the Beatles, I glanced back at the front of the room. There stood Grant’s wife Penny, leaning over his open casket, softly speaking to him to say her final farewell. I couldn’t hear her words, but I could see the incredible expression of love on her face and in her eyes. That image will stay with me for all the days of my life.
The day, a dot on my own Dash, inside the circle of life.
Until next time, thanks for taking the time.