Life is Short

Life is short.

It’s a phrase we hear often…and it’s accurate. Compared to eternity…or even compared to history…our lives are but a blink. Small blips on a never-ending timeline. We usually use this phrase to remind ourselves of the brevity of life, so we will remember to focus on truly living to the fullest every day. I said it after brain injury came into our lives and again when cancer struck my body because life threatening events remind us of how little we know about how long we will be around.

However, 9 times out of 10, we say it right after someone we know or love has passed away too soon. ‘Life is short’ is a phrase of surprise and grief intermingled. It catches us off guard. Shocks us. In an unimaginable situation, it flashes through our brains even if it doesn’t come out of our mouths. Those three little words resonate through us, shaking us up while we try to regain equilibrium. They plant themselves deeply into our hearts while we navigate the loss which preceded them, and they stick in our minds long after the arrangements are over.

Life is short.

Two days ago, my friend Pam unexpectedly, shockingly, lost her husband of 42 years. Sara and Becka lost their dad. Caleb lost his granddad. Our community lost a teaching legend.  

Life is short.

42nd anniversary last week.

Michael Walcott was an amazing man. The path to high school graduation led through his classroom, since economics is required to graduate. He taught all four of my kids and thousands of others. If his students were to deliver a eulogy, the rest of us wouldn’t understand it because it would be filled with inside jokes they had with him. His dry sense of humor won each of them over during their tenure in his classroom. If you asked students today their favorite teachers, he would be in the top 3 on everyone’s list. Hands down. And each of them would have a Walcott story.

He was funny, but sometimes his wit wasn’t understood in the moment. Then, later, it hit home causing his students to laugh as he moved on to another topic. He mixed this comedy into his content, making economics one of the most “fun” classes for his students, many of whom decided they wanted to become economists while they were in in his class. That in itself tells you the magic of Michael Walcott.

There are stories. Hundreds of them. Things he said, that stuck with the kids. His heartfelt passion for his subject matter convinced them he would make a great president. There was more than one Walcott for President campaign over the years. Signs were made and references to Walcott showed up in several graduation speeches, as well as comments about his famous moustache, referred to as “the ‘stache”. 

Michael resided on a pedestal in the eyes of many students. His superman reputation stemmed, not only from his classroom, but also from his ability to run miles on end. He ran over 103 marathon length races, 12 of those were 100-mile races. This count doesn’t include all the miles he ran all over the county, for “fun”.  He also took up cycling in recent years and had already pedaled 6,000 miles this year alone. Retirement had given him the time he needed to pursue the things he loved. He was the last person you would expect to have his heart to just stop.

Life is short.

He was married to Pam for 42 years, with two daughters. They were a family of runners; how could they not be? They ran together, cycled together and loved each other deeply. Always outside. Always on the move. Always laughing. In their recent retirements the light in their eyes sparkled and his humor was a big part of that. His dryness will be missed by everyone who knew him. My prayers are for his family as they absorb the shock of this loss. Sudden and unexpected. That God would lift them up. Hold them tight. Give them sweet memories to ease the pain. And help us all to remember…

Life is short.

Feel free to leave your Walcott stories in the comments below. I will make sure Pam and the girls get them.


3 thoughts on “Life is Short

  1. Pam was a high-school friend. I never knew her husband but it was clear, the deep love between them. My sympathy to Pam and her family. Life is short.

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