Sunday, February 12, 2012

Farewell To A True Hero

My Uncle Ron died today. He was 58. He was lucky enough to find a soul mate in Aunt Janet who didn't see him and his free spirit as something to put up with, but as someone with whom she could live a crazy adventure called life. He lived a very simple life (but was far from a simpleton), and he had no use for convention. Sell everything and move to Alaska just because? Sure. Four or five times. Build a house from scratch? Sure. And I mean from scratch. As in, go cut down trees, mill the wood and start building. Twice. And he's the only guy I know who could figure out a way to get the government to pay him money to fly around in his ultralight and shoot coyotes.

There's a quote going around that people like to cite (the exact verbiage varies, but the theme is always the same). It really does describe the life Ron lived:


Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming "Damn! What a Ride!"

His life was quite a ride indeed. He lived with passion, did the things he wanted to do, chased the dreams that were in his heart, and had no fear of making the wrong choice. If something didn't work out, he moved on and found something else. But honestly, I don't think anything ever DIDN'T work out for him. It may not have been the result he had envisioned when he started, but his life was always enriched for having done it, and he took the experience as just that...an experience...life lived...a thing done...a dream chased...a passion embraced. He lived with no regrets, because the only regrets in his mind were the things not tried. He truly did prefer a life of oh well's over a life of what if's. And he lived more life, and enjoyed more days of his life, than probably anyone I know. I've always lived vicariously through him and his complete and utter lack of fear to just do what the heart calls to do. He's the only person I think I've ever referred to as a hero. He really was. He was an example of how a human being should live their life. To the fullest. On one's own terms. Without fear. Without regret. You will be greatly missed Uncle Ron, and you will leave a legacy in my heart, one that makes me strive to embrace life as though it is to be lived, experienced and conquered. Thank you for being a living example that casting off fear, following your heart and diving in head first pays off.

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