Most people have heard the adage to tell people how you feel because you never know when you will no longer have the chance. Perhaps this is one of those things that requires personal experience to convert from an intellectual fact to an internalized truth. One particular regret shows that in stark highlight.

Years ago I was working at one of the fly-by-night companies that pepper my curriculum vitae. Perhaps it was the shared misery but the best parts of these places were the people I met. One of these hidden gems was J. Crafton Timmerman III, or Crafty as one of our friends called him. My spouse and I loved him the moment we met him. In spite of, or perhaps because of, the challenges of his earlier years, he had a positive energy and wry outlook that resonated with us.

We stayed in contact after we left that company but eventually we moved north and he moved east. It became harder to remain in touch but we tried. I remember his Christmas card one year was made out of a photo he had taken of a stained glass window. (As an aside, I think that was the genesis of our cards made with my photos.) We even talked on the phone a few times back in the day when long distance calls were not free.

I was so depressed, in such a bad place, the last time that he called. Of course, I had no idea that it was the last time we would talk. I certainly had good reason to be struggling but I had not yet learned the skills to identify and process it. I know that he would have been sympathetic but I was too caught in my own spiral to even recognize it. So that conversation was awkward and polluted with my darkness.

A few years ago I googled him to reconnect and found his obituary. It saddens me to even write this now. I miss Crafty and wish I could talk with him again, even if it was just one more time.


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