My family lost one of our own earlier this week. Randy Presnell passed away on Monday morning. The exact family relationship is too convoluted to explain but he was my buddy, my pal, a father figure and a close friend. He died peacefully in his sleep, and despite some recent health issues it was totally unexpected.
He loved PEZ. He had hundreds of PEZ dispensers -
Casper to Garfield to Batman to Star Wars to Bugs Bunny to Scooby Doo. He loved ‘em. He had them all over, and in a showcase, and many still sealed. And the candy was everywhere. He had other collectibles too, but man those PEZ were it. Randy was many things…father, grandfather, husband, lover, friend. He wasn’t perfect. He was easygoing and stubborn and flaky and a pain in the ass and we all loved him for it. He also thrived on the local sports teams; we would always talk about how great the Broncos look or how poor the Rockies played. I watched the Avalanche and Ray Bourque win the Cup at his house while drinking beer and eating hot wings. We talked about the Colorado Crush. He gave us an enormous dragon kite for Xmas last year and my kids loved flying it this past summer. We just spent a Saturday with him in Estes Park less than two weeks ago.
Those are the things I am going to miss.
It’s always hardest for the ones left behind, the ones that have to carry on and deal with the residual confusion and questions and inevitable regret. You think that some individuals will be in your life always, no matter what happens. You take them for granted. You think that this person will be there through thick and thin. It is shocking when the reality of life proves you wrong.
I am pretty far down on the list of relatives, and I am devastated. There are so many others grieving; I don’t know how to console those who are dealing with so much more pain than I am. The toughest part are the questions they ask themselves, did I tell them how I felt? Did I say it enough? Or the regret. The silly, normal part of everyday life like erasing recent phone messages or cancelling dinner plans that now seem like devastating mistakes. It’s easy to second guess every recent contact you did or did not make with that person. It can eat you up inside, if you let it. It’s tough to get beyond that. I don’t know what to say to help the family find peace. Thankfully, in this case, Randy knew how much his family loved him. No matter what. It didn’t need to be said like a rehearsed affirmation. He knows we did, and we still do.
Life is fleeting. Every day we think about others, that missed phone call or birthday and we tell ourselves its okay because we will send that card next week or write that email tonight – and tonight becomes tomorrow, then next week and then next month. And it never gets done.
So do it right now. Take five minutes and write that email or letter or make that phone call. Because you just never know.
And go buy a PEZ.
1952 – 2006