This morning I received the awful news that a wonderful friend of mine died last night. He wasn’t killed. He didn’t suffer in a terrible car accident. He didn’t die from a long battle with a fatal condition. From what I understand, he got home from work last night, while watching TV with his fiance he fell asleep… and never woke up. Just quietly, peacefully and uneventfully like that.
It’s so tragic it’s almost poetic. Bryan was such a kind soul and paradoxical to his rally-the-troops way of getting friends together for drinks or a game, he was in fact a quiet man. He was intelligent and thoughtful, he was sensitive to other people’s condition and feelings. There was an interesting hard-to-explain calming quality about Bryan.
The photo above was taken earlier this year. That’s Bryan, his fiance Jessica and me enjoying dinner with other friends Rico and his wife Cat, after an A’s game. That was pretty much a perfect day for Bryan. A ballgame, a good meal and drinks over a great conversation with good friends. My heart breaks for Jessica. Her pain is 1000 times more intense than mine.
No conversation about Bryan would be complete without mentioning his love of Cal sports and for his love of bringing people together to enjoy them. His tailgates were legendary. Here is one from earlier this year and that’s Bryan right there enjoying the hell out of bringing so many friends together. Tomorrow’s game is going to be hard.
The funny thing is it’s not like Bryan and I were lifetime friends… we’ve only really known each other for a few years. But in that brief time a bond was created, the sort of connection that makes life so special. We’d have late night discussions on Facebook about sports and work and life.. we had the same profession so we’d talk about that and Bryan would say to me “When you start your own company I want to be the first employee…” We’d agree that Cheers was better than Seinfeld. That this would be the year the A’s would win the World Series or that Cal would go to the Rose Bowl. We’d talk about how great Jessica is…
Bryan’s passing, in such an non-eventful way and far, far too prematurely reinforces in me the philosophy I hold so dear and share with others. Carpe Diem. You have to seize the day. As I say over and over, life is meant to be lived and for you to have an impact on it. There’s a great speech by Robert Gordon Sproul, UC Class of 1913 and President of the University from 1930 – 1958, an excerpt of which I’d like to share with you:
If man’s brief stay on Earth may be compared to a splash on the sea of life, his circle of friends and associates is the ripple therewith set in motion. The larger the splash, the stronger the ripple tends to be and the farther and wider it will extend.
Some men profess indifference to the ripple they create, but modesty or blindness may be suspected in that. Few of us can turn existence into living without the inspiration and the help that comes from others. The more actively we live, the more important others become – for they are both audience and fellow actors. Among them must be sought a supporting cast for the role we dream of playing and the critics who will help us play it well. One cannot light a torch in a vacuum.
That was Bryan to a T. So tomorrow as I know Bryan would want I’ll get together with friends at the Cal game and cheer GO BEARS and, as much as I hate the stuff, I’ll raise a shot of Jameson to him.
The very last thing Bryan posted on his Facebook is below, and I can’t think of a more fitting last thought from Bryan. Fiat Lux Bryan, keep that torch burning bright.
Thanks for reading and if you have thoughts and memories of Bryan you’d like to share, please feel free to leave a reply.