The blog has become an extension of who I am, which is why I decided to post what I had written for Father’s Day early (this) Monday morning, even after I learned of the news. I want my girls to have the blog about them and our relationship, to look back on, when one day I’m no longer here. But the secret to life is we never know when that day will come. I hope it’s a long, long, long time away. Yet tomorrow is only a whisper of expectation, not a promise.
I know Grant Kinkade would understand.
Grant was a Senior Partner at the Baltimore New York Life Office in Timonium, Maryland. For his family, this Father’s Day was one of unspeakable loss. Grant and the father-in-law of another New York Life Partner were killed, while crossing the road in Fenwick, Delaware on Friday night. Two Dads down.
Grant was only 45-years-old. He leaves behind his wife, Penny, two daughters, a son and a family in mourning, a Father’s Day like no other. Words don’t come easy. When there is joy, words flow like water, when there is tragedy, it’s like reaching into quicksand, you search deep for the right ones to say or to write, but it’s like being frozen in time. There are no right words, only mind numbing syllables and consonants which form words, but can’t come close to consoling those who have lost so much.
I have only known Grant for about two years now. He’s been with New York Life since October 2000. He built his career from the ground up, starting as a brand new agent, learning and earning his way up the ladder. Understand you don’t just get to become Partner at New York Life, you earn it. We’re talking about one of the most respected financial services companies in the world. If you want to move up, you had better be ready to prove yourself. Grant had done that and more, and in 2007 he was promoted to Senior Partner.
I’m not writing this blog to try and create an obituary and I’m not close to being qualified to share a eulogy, because I don’t know the Kinkade family well enough. I do know this much, Grant was a good husband and father, having been married for two decades and helping to raise three children, two daughters and a son.
Grant was an imposing figure. Tall and strong. He towered over me in the halls of our New York Life office and what I will remember most about him is the greeting he gave me nearly every time he saw me, “What’s up killer?” I have had early success in our Baltimore General Office and the one thing I respected about Grant is he respected hard work, so it was his way of acknowledging my accomplishments. Helping others to see the light, especially when it comes to life insurance, is not an easy business. Grant knew that and though he marched around displaying a gruff exterior, I knew in his heart he had a soft spot for those agents who proved they could help others take the courageous and responsible steps to insure themselves, protect their families and leave a legacy for those they love so much.
It’s why we do what we do. What happened to Grant Kinkade only reinforces the point. A family loses a husband and father, 45-years-young. His family is left to fend without him. I don’t know details, but I know he accepted the responsibility and while the insurance won’t bring him back, it will keep his family from grieving, from carrying on, from trying to pick up the pieces… in poverty. In death, the insurance will help those Grant loved the most to live the lives he hoped they could. This is not a lesson in life insurance, but you can’t escape the reality staring you in the face. It makes a difference.
Grant made a difference in the lives of his clients and in the lives of the agents he has nurtured, helping them gain the wisdom and knowledge to create their own path to a successful career. He won recruiter awards and retention awards, because the agents he helped bring into the business were the ones that stuck around. Grant cared.
Caring goes along way. Our New York Life Baltimore Office cares deeply and we will do what we can to support the family left behind. One family helping another in time of need, that’s what we do. And not only Grant’s family, but New York Life Partner Ramone Knight as well, who lost his father-in-law and good friend, Bob Rust, in this senseless tragedy. Grant and Bob may have taken their final steps on a busy road in Delaware, but the footprints of their lives will forever stay embedded in the hearts and in the minds of those left behind.
We’ll never get over it, we’ll just get on with it.