I came home from Cub Scouts tonight and read an email that said Daniel Vovak, who graduated a year before I did, was checking into hospice. Wow. That hit me hard. Boy....why is it, those who are so ambitious and so earnest seem to be knocked out earliest? Dan was a planner. I remember hanging out with him late somewhere, sometime...during High school...and he told me all sorts of plans he had. Dan had a ledger where he'd write down every single financial transaction (b/c he wanted to be wealthy). In fact, if he found a penny on the ground, he'd write it down in that ledger. Dan couldn't wait to get out of Sheffield Lake. (He outgrew that small town pretty early.) He talked about running for President of the US someday. And I see via a little Facebook search, that he actually did run for President. Wow. Speechless.
The words that came to my my mind were from a poem written by English Poet John Donne. The first two lines are burned into my memory. So I looked up the rest of the poem:
Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think'st thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul's delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell;
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.
Dan was in the great Brookside High School Band and I want to say he played the trumpet. Well, to be sure, it was a brass instrument. Dan, Jackie Spirko and one other nameless guy....had a French dinner over in France (aka Epcot, Florida) one year. We sailed through the Mexican landscape with the most vivid blue background. (Again...thanks to Mr. Disney!) The Dan I knew was always chipper and friendly.
Not fair. So not fair. But then again, who said life was fair? I didn't keep in touch with Dan...but it sure sounds like he ran after his dreams. I'm blessed to have known him and will keep him in my memory and my prayers.