I had picked a quote and started a post, but then life happened and changed my mind and direction for the quote I decided to write about and the man I decided to write about. Mid morning on Christmas I was texting with my cousin Keith. I sent him a Cooper photo (of Cooper sitting in his high chair). Keith's last text to me that day was "Hahaha, feed me" in reply to the photo of Cooper. It would in fact be his last text to me ever.
I am from a large family on both parents sides. My mom has three sisters and two brothers and my daddy has three brothers and one sister. So in the cousin department my brother and I were blessed.... 22 times. 10 on my mom's side and 12 on our dad's.
On my Mom's side there are Melvin, Terri, Dan and Russell (deceased), Amanda, Christopher (deceased) and Hillary, Ryan (deceased), Tye and Caleb. So losing a first cousin wasn't new to me asI'd lost three on my mom's side.
On my Dad's side I was the oldest... then my Matt and Spence, then Keith (now deceased) Anita, Matthew, Shonda, Maggie, Chris, Shelly, Ashely, Jonathan and Joshua.
The afternoon of the 26th is when we got the call. Keith was young, not but 47. It was really unbelievable that one day I was having a conversation and the next he was gone. And while I'm sad for me and my loss of having Keith in my life... what I will remember are the good times, the good things and his absolute love of life. I wish I could share all the two hours of stories his friends and family told at his service. The hundreds of friends who came to show their love for Keith. Over and over people told stories of how Keith had helped them out, how he always not only showed he loved his friends, but also told us every time we parted. So the quote that inspires me is one that is the secret to life. Live every moment as if it could be your last. It just might be. We have each moment in life but once. Live it to the fullest. Tell your friends and family how much you care every time you talk or see them. When I stood up to tell my Keith story at his service I ended with saying that everyone in the room should take a lesson from him and live their best life and always be kind and always remember to say I love you. Keith lived his life so big and so full and so fun. Do the same.
And if you have 4 minutes, take a look at this amazing tribute from a few of his friends. He was a dad, a granddad, a son, a brother, a mechanic, a racer, a civil service worker and in the Army Reserves. he touched a lot of lives. The tribute is from his racing family.