Thursday, April 19, 2012

Our World is a Little Dimmer Today

This may not be the best day for me to write a blog celebrating retirement.  Yesterday my dear friend Tom Wingham passed away unexpectedly.  He was only in his forties.  When Tom missed two conference calls for work, his co-workers became concerned and contacted a friend to check on him.  She found him at home, dead in a chair, with his work laptop in front of him.

Tom Wingham was an extraordinary person.  He successfully blurred the line between work and his personal life and pleasures.  We all enjoyed his Facebook postings from business trips around the world.  With him, we toured London, Istanbul, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam, Madrid, Singapore, and cities all over the U.S.  He adored his hometown of Los Angeles.  In person and in pictures, his smile was ever-present and infectious.

Tributes are pouring in from all over the world.  Tom made friends wherever he went.

A man with a ridiculously unabashed joie de vivre is gone.  His family has suffered a stunning loss.  Tom would never have left them by choice.

They don’t yet know what caused Tom’s untimely death.  We all saw that Tom was always on the go… flying from here to there (often on a red-eye), working into evenings, and having his weekends cut short by business obligations.  Some were envious of his glamorous life.  I know he enjoyed it – but he also wanted to be able to spend more time with his family and friends at home.  Obviously, none of us would choose to slip into the next world in the pale glow of a computer monitor while preparing for a conference call.

It’s been almost exactly four years since Ron and I quit our corporate jobs to live life differently; without conference calls and red eye flights.  Today we are fortunate to share our days with friends and family, enjoying the outdoors, healthy activities, eight hours of sleep a night, and home-cooked meals.  It was a conscious choice that we hope will prolong our lives.  We don’t know how much time we have, but we are going to do our best to make the most of this life.

Jeez, Tom… we already miss you.  As someone wrote on his Facebook page, “Our world is a little dimmer today.”

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