Sunday, February 22, 2009

A Glimpse at Mortality

Today was an interesting day for me.

I got a call that there was a dive center just outside of Cleveland where the owner had died and they were selling off the dive center stuff. Always wanting to help out where I can and to see if there was stuff to get I went out there with a friend of mine named Jim. I went looking for rental equipment, Bank bottles, tanks, lift bags, fixtures and compressor parts, what I got was some stuff I knew that the widow would have a hard time selling and a sobering reminder of my mortality.

The store was a neat little place. Set in a house on a busy street it looked like it was once a pretty cool establishment, not high society but cozy. Inside the dive shop, Jim and I went to work looking for stuff we may need. As I was going through boxes of parts, piles of rental gear, racks of fins, hundreds of accessories and lots of stuff that will someday have a use for someone, I thought of my kids and Jill (my wife for any strangers who might read this) and what they would have to go through should something ever happen to me. I don't think about the mortality we all face very often so it was a kind of shock. What I understand is that the previous owner, Joe, of this store was a guy a lot like me. God love him, he liked being a scuba diver, loved being an instructor and loved his wife and the life that they had made. His heart attack a bunch of years ago didn't prompt him to change his life enough to avoid the stroke that finally took him from our world. A collector like me, Joe had lots of stuff... valuable to him and now being sorted out into two neat little piles that Jim and I would pay his widow for and take away so she could begin to start over.

Terry, Joe's widow and the new owner of this dive center, told us she was getting out of diving entirely, couldn't see herself diving without her husband around anymore. That struck a chord with me. A resonant, minor chord with a flat "a" string. I know if something happened to me I would no longer have any say in what Divers Incorporated would be, or what my legacy would be. It is my hope that Jill would keep diving and that she, and all of my dive buddies, would show my kids, Natalie and Olivia what their Dad loved so much about the underwater world. It is so much of their life already, it would be a shame for them to miss out on what we all love.

Those of you who know my wife would appreciate this. I told her what my thoughts were as I went through the piles of stuff that was in this dive center. The thoughts I have now shared with you and my empathy towards the people involved. Her reply was, and I am paraphrasing, "well, you better just clean up your (stuff) now and throw it all away so I don't have to." Leave it to her to take an emotional thought and break it down to the basic sub particles. Needless to say, I will take her advice and try to sort my life a little more... and take care of myself a little bit more.

So you don't think there will be a sale at Divers Incorporated or you should go dumpster diving behind the dive shop any time soon, I plan on living for a REALLY long time... (a tarot card reader once told me that last birthday I would celebrate would be in 2058 and that's the date I am shooting for. I will be 90.)

I have too much to live for to start thinking about anything else. I'd like to dive with my girls someday... I'd like to teach a few more people how to dive... I'd like to work on my new "bucket list" (my high school one is almost done)... and I have a whole bunch of new stuff I got at this dive shop sale to sort... (I know Jill, more junk.)

Dive Safe, Hug those you love for me, and lets start thinking about summer... winter is so depressing. Only 37 more days until we open the quarry and spring finally starts...


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  2. Mortality. Try creating your "last will and testament" and saying who gets your children. That gives you a sense that we can be taken off this earth at any time and enjoy it...