Some people enter our lives and make a great impact in a short period of time. We want them to live forever because the world is a better place while they are in it. That is how I felt about my good friend Aidan who died suddenly last week at the young age of 15.
The first time I met Aidan I was only a few months old. He was ten at the time and had come to work with his mom and dad. We became fast friends even though our first meeting consisted of me pulling on his shirt, chewing on his hands and covering his face with slobbery puppy kisses. He didn’t seem to mind and I can still hear that infectious laugh whenever he thought I had done something funny. If I played too rough, he would give me a gentle chiding “Grover No!” and then start laughing again. From that day forward, whenever he came to work with his parents he would stop by and visit with Doc and I.
Aidan was one of the happiest kids I ever met. I loved being with him as he was never in a bad mood and always smiling. Aidan’s life motto was printed on the business cards that he readily handed out that said ; “Smile-Ologist Extraordinaire, If you’ve lost yours, I’ll help you find it.” The adults could have learned a thing or two from his example.
What I liked best about my friend, is that he never met a stranger. He would engage with anyone and loved to stay busy. One of the funniest things I ever saw him do was write-up what he called a “pink slip” that said Doc was fired. You should have seen the look on her face when he handed her that slip. I had to turn my head so she wouldn’t see how hard I was laughing. But, Aidan being the great kid that he was offered her a generous severance package that included a month of vacation. Not bad for being fired.
Doc found out that Aidan had died when a co-worker came into her office with the news. I could tell by the shocked and pained look on her face that something awful had happened. As others found out, a dark sadness enveloped our work place as everyone tried to process how such a sweet young man could be taken so soon. I did my best to comfort everyone as they grieved, just like I knew Aidan would have done if he saw all of us crying. I thought of his wonderful parents Todd and Heidi and when they feel ready to return to work, I will try my best to comfort them too.
Doc tells me that when we lose someone that we love, it feels like there is a big hole in our heart that will never be filled again. Although the journey never gets any easier, Doc says that somehow you learn to move forward and live in a way that will honor your loved-one. I know Aidan would want me to watch over the people he loved and cared about and I promise you buddy, I will do my very best.