November 14, 2022

The end is inevitable.

"Life is pleasant. Death is peaceful. It’s the transition that’s troublesome.”

Isaac Asimov

Recently I have been experiencing some pretty bad panic attacks tied to death. In some ways not directly dying but some of the situations you can end up in. For example, being in a coma while being fully present in your mind. Being trapped in my body is a huge fear I have. To the point I have made it very clear to my spouse that if I am ever in this situation, pull the plug no matter how much she and my girls want to keep me around. I am sure this very thing is what people with Lou Gehrig's disease probably experience. Slowly losing control of your body while being fully present seems like the worst way to die. Especially since modern medicine can keep you hanging on for so much longer.

To work through this, my therapist again suggested some more writing. This time she suggested writing my own eulogy. At first I was a bit shocked, but I slowly came around that it may make sense. At least I can work through how I want to be remembered and what may be causing these dreadful bouts of panic.

Over the past 3 weeks, I have been trying to get this down in words but I can't seem to get through how I want to be remembered. The only thing I keep falling back on is how I don't want to be remembered. I know what I don't want. I don't want to be they type of guy who was cruel or rude. Cause I have definitely been that person in my past. Sometimes I will catch myself going to say something rude just for a laugh. Luckily I usually stop before that happens. I just don't want to be a bad person. Our family motto, since our kids have been little, is "Don't be shitty!" Words we live by.

Now I guess it's time that I quit procrastinating and actually try to get through the eulogy. I've been thinking about what perspective I should be writing from. I've finally landed on doing it as if I am my own best friend. It should be something we all strive for I suppose. We are in fact stuck with ourselves as long as we live.

"Where do I start? What can I say about the wonderful man who lays before us?
As many of you know, Cody was my best friend. We were born on the same day and never spent a day apart. While we didn't always get agree or see eye to eye. I was very proud to be apart of his life and to call him friend.

I have never met another person so accepting. Not accepting in the sense that he let people walk all over him or just blindly accept at face value what people were like, but he always wanted to hear your story and accepted you for the person you were.

Cody LOVED his family more than anyone I have ever met. His passion to protect, provide and care for his family was unmatched by most. He constantly struggled to choose between spending time with his family and working to provide for them. He wanted them to have everything he didn't growing up. That wasn't just financially, but also emotionally. He always tried to be a present father. His kids often joked that he would always give life lessons, even when they didn't want them.

If there is anything that sharing my life with him has taught me, it's that we should not take anything for granted. Live in the moment, because you don't know when it will be gone. Sometimes seeing it while we are in it is tough, but just take a beat and look around you every once in awhile and be grateful that you are still here to have new experiences. He always use to say "The secret to life is easy... it's to actually LIVE."

Cody would compliment strangers on the most random stuff. He would blurt out "I love your hair!" or "Those are some wonderful shoes." He always tried to bring a smile to someones face. Even when he didn't feel the best about himself, he tried to make others feel good. It's the type of thing he was fueled by. And you know when you got a compliment, it was 100% genuine. He never said something just to say something. He was always so proud that his daughters have taken this behavior on as well.

The man tried as hard as he could to live by the Golden Rule, treat others the way you would like to be treated. While he didn't always succeed, he definitely succeeded more than most.

I will end this by saying that he lived the life that only many of us could dream. He shared his life with his best friend, Tawnya. She was always the inspiration for him wanting to be a better person. His daughters loved and adored him. And he was always amazed at the incredibly independent and thoughtful women they have grown up to be. He always hoped that his daughters would find a man or woman that would love them as much as he loved their mother. Cody was loved equally by the people that he cared for most. Not everyone gets that opportunity.

I want to thank everyone for coming here today as I know if he were here he would be amazed that all of you have shown up. I hope you all have a great night and thank you for coming. As Cody would have said "Drive safe, wear your seatbelt and don't forget to take a towel!" "
--His best friend

It isn't death that I'm afraid of, but the impact that it will have on my loved ones. I have never heard it put more perfectly than when Stephen Colbert asked Keanu Reeves "What do you think happens when we die, Keanu Reeves?" His reply "I know that the ones who love us, will miss us."

Losing my father is something I never could have planned for. Even if one of the very last things he told me, was that he was going to end it. After his birthday dinner, getting ready to go home, he pulled me aside. He told me where all of his personal documents were for when the time came for him to end it. I told him to not stupid and that was an easy way out, not thinking about him actually going through with it.

I replay that day often in my head, thinking about if only I would have listened or responded differently, the outcome could have been completely different. While it could have, there is nothing now I can do to change it. I'm trying to move past it, but man is it tough. It's probably safe to say I never will. Time makes it easier, but I still think about it.

The impact that event has had on my life is immeasurable. I don't want my kids to feel the same way I have. Maybe that is why I am constantly trying to share my life lessons with them and give them advice, because I know someday I won't be here to share them.

I'll end this by reflecting on the quote at the beginning, I can't control when or how I die. The only thing I can control is how I react to it. I hope if you take anything from this, its that you don't take your days for granted. If you wake up in the morning, be grateful for that day and that you get a bit more time on this rock floating through space.

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