Live like James, Fight like Mike, Love like Jay

He was also a pretty talented striper fisherman, apparently

A few years back I lost a close friend to brain cancer. It was tough. Mike was a great guy…and full of life, before his struggle with cancer robbed him of his vitality. He fought like hell. But he finally lost the war.

I miss him. He was one of my closest friends in Columbus in the years between high school and LaGrange.

In the last two weeks, I got hit with two more bodyblows. Jason Sparks, another of the Columbus crew, and one of the sneakiest funny guys I ever knew had a heart attack at his home in Cataula.

Seeing a trend here

Jason and I were pretty close Facebook friends. I loved his photos of country life, of his coi pond and his cat that he loved dearly.

Then, on Saturday, news of another passing, this time a high school classmate.  James Eaton was one of the nicest people you could ever meet. Quick with a smile, a laugh and even great advice. I had not seen James in person in years, but we talked often on Facebook. I hoped that next time the family made a trip back to NC we could meet up and catch up with James and his lovely wife. James was a gentle giant of a man, who played bass in a rock band. I feel like he never met a stranger. His wife Heather is planning a party at a Charlotte bar to celebrate his memory on Thursday night. I wish I could make it. I think it will be the perfect tribute. He is gone much too soon, the victim of a heart, that again…just stopped beating.

I don’t have any sage advice to take away from these losses. I hate each of them equally. I guess all I can say is treasure the moments. Treasure your family. Live like James. Appreciate nature and friendship like Jay. And fight. Fight like Mike. We are all a little less whole without the three of them around.

James was a rock star. No fish, though

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