I Lost a Friend Today

I’d known him four years. We were both members of the Aikido dojo. He had started about a year before me, and was scheduled to test for shodan (black belt) next month. I have his 10 page written paper in my email. I had helped him edit it.

He was 65. An ARMY veteran from Vietnam. He had the CIB tatooed on his shoulder. Didn’t tell a lot of stories, but he was the real deal.

He was funny. Liked a joke, the raunchier the better.

He had one son, and earlier this month traveled to Vermont to see his newborn grandchild for the first time.

He had a beautiful Harley and loved to ride.

He was in very good physical shape. Worked as a personal trainer.

His Aikido had improved a lot in the last year or so, and he was great to work out with. He had helped me a lot. Being an old fart myself, it was an inspiration to see someone 10 years older out there on the mats going full speed.

He died in his sleep this morning, Memorial Day 2011.

Camp next month will have a hole in it. The dojo will be smaller.

I am diminished.

Live as if you were to die tomorrow.
–Mahatma Gandhi

13 thoughts on “I Lost a Friend Today

  1. I'm sorry for your loss. Sounds like he was a humble man, impressive in what he accomplished but not self-impressed. I think he would be pleased and honored by how you described him here.

  2. I'm sorry to hear that.

    We don't often get a chance to choose how and when we go, but compared to some I've seen (and I'd imagine you have seen, too), it's a pretty easy way out.

  3. Condolences. While there will be no new experiences, I do not hear a “diminshed” man, but one whose life was enhanced by this man. Celebrate that, as you mourn him. He lived hard until his very last breath — we should all endeavor to do the same.

  4. My condolences, my friend.
    “A cherry blossom falls to the water”

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