To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die.

~Thomas Campbell

I lost a dear friend last week.  His passing has left me heartbroken, angry, filled with remorse, and so many other emotions that I can’t decipher them all.

I regret that I did not spend more time with him.  I regret that I didn’t tell him more often, how much I loved him and appreciated him.  I thought that he had more time…that I had more time.

To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die.

He will continue to live in my heart.  I will not forget him!

Ian was cocky.

He had a winning smile, and a twinkle in his eyes.

He was a responsible son.

He took his “duty of care” for his sister seriously, and he adored her.

He had a zest for life.

He loved a good meme.

He absolutely hated peacocks.

He was a gifted massage therapist.

He was generous to a fault, with his time and talents.

I could go on and on and on…

We met almost 25 years ago.  I was the assistant to the director of a charter school, and Ian came on board as our in house massage therapist, and he taught Tae Kwon Do classes to the kids (he was a black belt and had previously had his own Tae Kwon Do studio). Half way through the second school year, I left the school, and went to work for/with Ian and another massage therapist as their “office manager”.  The more I got to know him, the more I came to love him. He wasn’t just a friend, he was like a son, or younger brother.

I missed him terribly, when we moved out of state 16 years ago, but we kept in touch for the 12 years that we were gone.  As soon as we got back to Florida 4 years ago, we picked up where we left off. Every other week, Ian came to our house. My husband suffers from horrible migraines.  Ian’s treatments were just about the only thing that helped him.  Now and then, he would work on me, when I was in one of my phases, when I was in so much pain that I couldn’t function.  After our sessions, we would eat together – usually I cooked, but once in a while, Ian would bring dinner.  Oh my gosh, that man made the BEST cottage pie.

Over dinner, we would discuss the worlds problems. I banned political discourse between Ian and my husband – they enjoyed those “debates” – I did NOT! We shared our favorite memes and animal pics. We reminisced over our days at the school and at the massage office, and of course we would laugh.

I will say that I never let him leave without a hug and telling him that I loved him.  He was a good hugger, and never failed to tell me that he loved me too.  I think back, and I’m glad that I let him know that he meant a great deal to me, but oh how I wish that I had said it more often.

Life is fleeting people.

It can be snuffed out in the blink of an eye.

Stop right this minute and call your mom or your dad or your grandma, or your best friend. Drop a note to your favorite teacher or a special co-worker.  At every opportunity, let the people that you love KNOW that they are loved.  Put a card…yes a REAL CARD…in the mail to brighten someone’s day.  Tell other’s what they mean to you.

Don’t live with the “if only I had”, for that is how I’m feeling now.

I said my last official goodbyes to Ian about 2 months ago, before we moved back to Louisiana.  We spoke to him outside in order to keep our distance from him (as he was going through chemo, and he was weak). He couldn’t talk, and had a feeding tube in as he could no longer swallow. I couldn’t hug him, but I did tell him that I loved him. He smiled and nodded his head.

I cried in the car as we drove away.  My husband said “He’s  a fighter…he will be okay.  If anyone can beat cancer, it’s Ian!”.

Sadly, he wasn’t strong enough.

Since he couldn’t talk, we would message each other via Facebook.  But, I got busy putting my new home in order, and I let several weeks go by.  I knew that my bestie and my youngest daughter had gone to visit him, which jogged my memory, and I sent him a new message and told him that I was glad that they had visited. I also apologized for not checking in on him sooner. He didn’t respond right away like he usually did. After a few more days, I really got concerned. I got online and Googled his name to see if the other LMT who rented out office space from him would pop up.  I was hoping that she could tell me how Ian was doing, and to  let him know that I was trying to get in touch with him.

What popped up was his obituary

He had died 4 days before my last message to him.

I will always regret that I didn’t message him every single day after we left.  I will always regret that I didn’t get a chance to tell him just one more time, that I loved him and that I appreciated his friendship.

Don’t set yourself up to live with regrets.

Speak up.

Hug often.

Laugh loudly.

I’ll miss you Mr. “N” (inside joke), and you will live in my heart. I’ll think of you every time I make a meatloaf sandwich, or see one of those coconut covered “snowballs” at Walmart. I’ll make cottage pie, and say “not quite as good as Ian’s, but it’s okay”.

To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die.

16 thoughts on “To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die.

    • Sorry for your loss, losing people we love is so hard!

  • I’m so sorry for your loss. It is always hard to lose a loved one. I’ll keep you in my thoughts.

  • So hard to lose someone, especially so quickly. I’m sorry for your loss, and the reminder to take advantage of the time we have.

  • My heart goes out to you and all his loved ones. Yes, he will always live on in those memories and your heart.

  • Such profound words beautifully capture the essence of legacy. In our hearts and memories forever!

  • So sorry for your loss and when we lose someone like this, it always reminds us of how fleeting life is..

  • What a beautiful post and I am so sorry for the loss of your friend. It is crazy and yes…. we need to live in the moment and be grateful each and every day and make sure that we let those that we care about know how much we love them. I will make sure to do this every day and appreciate you sharing this heartfelt post. Very sorry for your loss.

  • Cancer is the cruelest. I’m so sorry your friend passed away.

  • I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. This is a very beautiful post.

  • It will never be easy when you lose someone important to you. I’m sorry for your loss.

  • I am so sorry for your loss! I lost my dearest sister-in-law to cancer in 2020 and that period has been the worst phase of my life. I do regret for not texting and calling her regularly 😒. I know it’s so hard to lose a loved one!

  • I’m so sorry for your loss. Having to say goodbye to a loved one is always difficult.

  • I am so sorry for your loss. But in this cases is important to remember the best memories that we have about that person!

  • So sorry for your loss, this is a great tribute to his memory. I’m sure he was thankful for the times you visited and messaged him, don’t be hard on yourself.

  • I sorry that you lost a dear friend. Losing a loved one is very heartbreaking. I know I’ve lost my mom about 13 years ago in September. 🙁


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *