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Operation Bill

I promise this isn’t going to be a dark post…just hear me out. I’m 29-years-old and I’ve only dealt with death once in my life. I feel extremely lucky that I haven’t lost more people close to me. 

The only direct loss in my life was one of my best friends, Tyler. On July 14, 2005, Ty died of a brain aneurysm at just 25-years-old. He was newly married and a new father. No one knew it was coming. He was getting ready for work and suddenly he was gone. I was lucky enough to hang out with Ty three days earlier on his birthday. I felt like he was able to see how much I cared about him and I know he cared about me (he broke plans with co-workers so he could see me). In a sense, I had a chance to say goodbye. 

Not everyone was as lucky as I was. After Tyler’s funeral, my friend Kyle called me crying his eyes out. He was sad because he hadn’t talked to Ty in over a year. He was upset that he didn’t keep in better contact with him. The conversation ripped my heart out. It made me want to call all of the people in my contact list and let them know how much they mean to me. I wanted everyone to know I cared.

That leads me to this. My best friend in the world is Liz. Liz and I went to high school together and have dated off-and-on for nearly seven years now. She’s the only person I want to talk to every day. I care about her as much as I care about my family. Anyways…Liz got really bad news a little more than a month ago. She found out that her dad Bill has cancer. He’s now fighting for his life, given just three months to a year to live. Needless to say, Liz is now spending as much time as possible with him while she can.

Liz writes a blog for her son at TheAdventuresOfKellan.com. She usually sticks to stories about her boy (he’s a stud), but she strayed off topic recently to start Operation Bill:

“We let days, months, YEARS go by before telling people in our lives how we feel about them.

I am probably the most guilty of this. I am a HORRIBLE feely person :-).

Normally it takes something awful to remind you to tell those you love how much they mean to you.

Well this is pretty dumb.

SO this is Operation Bill. Here is your reminder. Whether it is by email, a quick call, a coffee date, ANYTHING, just do it.”

It’s pretty darn simple. Let the people that you love know how much you care about them. Don’t wait until it’s too late. I’m just as guilty as everyone else. I’ve gone years without talking to some of my family (cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.) or some of my great friends. It doesn’t have to be a ten page email or a 45 minute phone call (although it can be). You can send a short text or a tweet. No matter what you choose to do…it will be worth it. 

If one tragedy doesn’t serve as a wake up call, maybe another will. I was watching Outside the Lines while I was doing cardio at the gym and they ran a story about Denver Nuggets head coach George Karl. He is fighting throat cancer. He’s going through radiation treatments and chemotherapy as we speak. In the story, Rick Reilly asks Karl how fighting cancer has changed him. Here’s how he responded:

“I’m more aware of the value of day-to-day life. We’ve had family in here 80-percent of the days. I think it just makes you aware of what’s good in life and how blessed we are.”

Let these misfortunes act as an example. I know you hear this over and over again in your life, but soak in the message this time and do something about it. I might be overweight (I’m working on that), but I’m generally healthy. I allow life to pass me by at hyper-speed. I’m guessing you are the same way. If you’re not, what’s your secret? Ultimately, don’t take life for granted and don’t wait for tragedy to strike to realize how important friends and family are. 

Let’s all join together and make Operation Bill a huge success! Tell your friends and family, and then have them tell their friends and family. Share the love! There’s nothing better than turning a negative situation into a positive one.

Thanks for reading!

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