A Good Man

l7PvQ+dETJOMWesRIhyYzQAs my regular readers know, I hate being sick.  So I was deeply unhappy when I realized that the sore throat and stuffy nose I came down with last Monday wasn’t, as I had hoped, an allergic reaction to spending Sunday afternoon taking down our Christmas tree.  It was a real cold.  The good news was that I felt a little bit better with each passing day…until last night, when I began to lose my voice.  I couldn’t talk at all by this morning, so I went to the local urgent care clinic for help.

It turned out to be inflamed vocal cords which should go away soon, and I’m already feeling much better.  Partly because they gave me a steroid shot for the inflammation, but mostly because the staff that I dealt with at the clinic were so professional and kind.  They listened to what I had to say, answered my questions, and explained exactly what my treatment would be.  In short, they were ordinary people who took the time to do their job well, and that helped enormously.

I’ve reached the age where I’ve known too many good people who have died, and even more people who are mourning the loss of their own loved ones.  So it shouldn’t have been a shock when my husband received a text from the wife of our handyman telling us that he had died of a sudden heart attack.  But it was.

We’ve known Mike for many years, and liked him very much.  He did high-quality work, and was friendly, dependable, and the sort of person who could fix or build just about anything.  Mike did a lot of projects for us, and also worked on our son’s house, our daughter’s house and my mother’s house.  You don’t spend that much time with someone and not get to know him fairly well, especially someone who likes to talk, as Mike did.  He told us about his wife, whom he loved dearly, and about his beloved granddaughter, whom he adored.  We knew he loved his dogs, and was an avid hunter and fisherman.

One way or another, my husband spent a lot of time talking to Mike, asking for his advice on various projects and often just “shooting the breeze.”  I think it’s safe to say that the relationship between the two of them moved beyond employer/employee to real friendship.  At least I know that’s the way my husband felt.

I’m not sharing this because I’m looking for sympathy for our loss, because that should be reserved for Mike’s family and close friends, who are in deep mourning.  I’m sharing this because I think it’s important for us all to remember just how much good ordinary people doing their jobs well can do, and how much of a positive impact they can make on the people around them.

The people who get most of the attention aren’t really the important ones, in my opinion.  It’s people like Mike and the staff I encountered at the urgent care clinic who really count.  It’s the ones who are kind and honest, and who do their jobs to the best of their ability,  and who are always ready to lend a hand when needed who are the people who truly make the world a better place.  And I believe that they are the ones whose example the rest of us would do well to follow….

83 thoughts on “A Good Man

  1. Ann, I am so sorry to hear about the sudden loss of a good friend. It’s a good thing his family can hear from people like you and your husband who can reveal the kind of man he was dveryday. Hoping you are feeling better. We’ve been sick here as well. God’s grip to you and the hurting family.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Alan! I hope you and your family are feeling better too…there’s so much stuff going around right now. And yes, we plan to let Mike’s wife know just how much we valued him. Nothing can take away her grief, but I hope it helps for her to know how much he helped other people. He was a gift for sure! God’s grip to you and yours as well….

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Even though you asked otherwise – I will extend my condolences to you and your husband for your loss. You will think of him often as you come across his handiwork. Also, when new jobs crop up that would normally be assigned to him, you will feel the loss once again. He was an important part of your house and your home and he was a friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you for your kindness, Maggie. You’re right, our whole family feels this loss, as he helped us all at one time or another. We actually got his name originally from our daughter-in-law’s parents. That’s the kind of person Mike was: once you used him for a project, you didn’t hesitate to recommend him to family and friends. We will think of him every time we look at all the ways he improved our house, and every time we think about something we want to do, and our first reaction is, “Well, let’s call Mike and see if he thinks this is a good idea!” He was a good friend and a person who will be very much missed…..

      Liked by 2 people

  3. It is true. The everyday people are the ones that deserve the praise and usually not the big wigs… Suddenly losing a friend is always a punch to the gut. I hope you will be able to shower his family with caring.

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    • It is absolutely the everyday people who deserve our respect and praise! They don’t waste time and energy trying to attract attention to their good deeds, they just do them. We don’t know his family, but we’ve heard a lot about them through the years. And we will definitely go to his life celebration and share our memories with his wife. We want her to know just what a good friend he was to us, and how highly we thought of him. And that we will be there for her in the future, whatever she needs.

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  4. What a sad loss for everyone. I agree that often the most important people don’t get a lot of attention… they just go about doing their jobs and making the world a nicer, better place. I hope you shared your remembrances of Mike with his family, especially about how much he talked about his family that the quality work he did. I know when I received condolence letters from friends when my parents died, those shared memories were my liftraft in my sea of grief.

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    • Yes, my husband let her know in his answer to her text, and we will be attending the celebration of his life where we will tell her how much he meant. And because I know how hard it is to remember what people say to you at such things, we will also have it all written down in a card that his wife can read later, when she has the time. Because I agree that it does help to know that our loved ones were treasured by other people, too! Unsung heroes deserve to have their stories shared.

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  5. So interesting how we get entangled with our own stuff, especially health … and then a different perspective comes in that open our hearts and allows us to feel and embrace something so much more. Appreciate and love what is here 💕🙏💕

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    • Yes, the biggest lesson of aging is to stop being so self-centered and to stop counting on a tomorrow that is not in any way guaranteed. We need to value the people while we have them, and never stop looking at the big picture. Thanks for sharing that insight, Val!

      Liked by 1 person

    • I know! That’s why there aren’t enough people working in the trades these days, and unemployed people looking for office jobs. I’m sorry you’re sick, too, and hope you are feeling better soon.

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      • Yeah I wish that I took up engineering rather than a science degree. Too much competition for science jobs but lots of engineering ones that are actually better paid too. Too many people try to sell the idea of taking on an academic subject rather than a craft and it’s a bit confusing when you’re young and deciding the one line of education that you get funded for. I’m feeling better now 🙂 hope you do too soon.

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        • It is so hard when we’re young to know what career path to follow. And I can’t really give advice, because I majored in English, which doesn’t have much hopes for a career at all! Glad you’re feeling better now, I am too.

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  6. at least you got to know him and got plenty of work done … my highly recommended handyman never fronted. Text him with no response but a week later he was dead at 42yo … there are no guarantees.

    And you are so right one of the most pleasant and cheerful ladies where I volunteer is the cleaner. A young attractive woman who does her job well with a good heart, they are the gems!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I am saddened by the sudden vacuum faced by your husband due to passing of a companion. The planet is certainly made better by the gentle people it houses, the folks at a clinic, or a Mike here and there, although the tribe seems to be getting leaner by each passing day.

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    • It is so sad when we lose another good person! And sometimes it does seem as if they are getting fewer by the day. I’m not sure that is really the case, or it is simply that those who are selfish and always seeking attention are the ones who actually get all the attention. Maybe we just have to look for those who are quietly doing good? I hope so, anyway. Thank you for your comment!

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  8. It is the simple folk like Mike who make this world a better place for so many of us. Reading about Mike reminds me of this Ellen M. H poem that has been on my heart for some days now. Ann, I hope it’s okay with you if I post it here.

    Your Mission

    If you cannot on the ocean
    Sail among the swiftest fleet,
    Rocking on the highest billows,
    Laughing at the storms you meet;
    You can stand among the sailors,
    Anchored yet within the bay,
    You can lend a hand to help them
    As they launch their boats away.

    If you are too weak to journey
    Up the mountain, steep and high,
    You can stand within the valley
    While the multitudes go by;
    You can chant in happy measure
    As they slowly pass along–
    Though they may forget the singer,
    They will not forget the song.

    If you cannot in the harvest
    Garner up the richest sheaves,
    Many a grain, both ripe and golden,
    Oft the careless reaper leaves;
    Go and glean among the briars
    Growing rank against the wall,
    For it may be that their shadow
    Hides the heaviest grain of all.

    If you cannot in the conflict
    Prove yourself a soldier true;
    If, where fire and smoke are thickest,
    There’s no work for you to do;
    When the battle field is silent,
    You can go with careful tread;
    You can bear away the wounded,
    You can cover up the dead.

    Do not then stand idly waiting
    For some greater work to do;
    Fortune is a lazy goddess,
    She will never come to you;
    Go and toil in any vineyard,
    Do not fear to do and dare.
    If you want a field of labor
    You can find it anywhere.

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  9. I’m sorry you’ve felt so poorly with the cold. My mother’s got one at the moment, too. They can really knock the stuffing out of you and I imagine inflamed vocal cords are very unpleasant and sore.

    That’s awful news about Mike. His poor wife and family.. sudden and out of the blue heart attack then I imagine? You’re so right about those small things in life that make the difference. The kindness, the times someone helps you out, compassion, generosity. It can be something small sometimes, but it can make a big difference. And those people do set the precedent, the example that others should hope to follow to make a difference in this world to those around them, no matter how big or small, it all counts. I’m so sorry about Mike, but I’m sure his family would be heartened to see your comments about him in your post  ♥

    Caz xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Caz! I’m thinking I might print this off and give it to his wife. She can read it or not, as she prefers, but if she chooses to, I’m hoping it makes her feel better to know just how highly we thought of him.
      And you’re right, it is the people who quietly do good, and are kind in even the smallest ways, that can sometimes make the biggest impact on others. They really do set an example for the rest of us!

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I am so sorry for the loss of Mike. He sounds like a beautiful soul. You are right, people like him should be the ones people talk about and strive to live like. Its so nice to go to a professional office and they are kind and caring. I hope you feel better. 💕

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    • Thanks, Lisa! I’ve been thinking about Mike a lot lately, and couldn’t help see the connection between him and the people who treated me at the clinic. None of them were an actual doctor, but they sure knew how to take care of a patient, and that was so comforting and helpful. Mike was a very good person who touched a lot of lives, even though he wasn’t famous or rich or any of the other things we tend to think of as success. Yet he’s the one who sets best example for the rest of us, I think!

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    • Exactly! We give too much attention to all the wrong sorts of behavior, and then wonder why our world view is sometimes jaded. Luckily, all it takes is someone who takes the time to offer a kind word or a bit of assistance to make us see things as they really are.

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  11. A wonderful tribute to a good man.

    Ricky Gervais has this great bit about celebrating your funeral when you are alive. At least that way, you will hear what everyone says about you. For some that might be sobering, for others it might be learning how much you truly meant to others.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Greg! (And it’s good to have you back in the blogging world!) I love that idea of having a “funeral” while you’re still alive, especially since so many people do “celebrations of life” rather than funerals these days anyway. All I know is that if Mike were around to hear all the great things that are being said about him, he would probably be surprised, in a very good way.

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    • Thank you, Peter! I agree, the sudden death of a friend or loved one does help us get our priorities straight. We are confronted with just how fragile life is, and how we need to be thankful for, and value, all the good people in our lives. Because there is no guarantee any of us will be here tomorrow.

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  12. Here here!
    It’s been said that we manifest that to which we give our attention and energy. So let’s manifest by appreciating and honoring folks who do things well, and kindly. Say it out loud. Start a wave, and join the flow!
    We all do better when we all do better. I’m done preachin’, now. Loved your post! ❤ ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    • He truly was! I’m sure his family is devasted…we’re in shock, and he was just a friend and a handyman to us, and yet we miss him and are so very sad he’s gone. The world needs more people like Mike…they truly are the “salt of the earth!”

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  13. It’s sad to lose someone like Mike. I’ll bet you and Dave will think about him often in the future. Maybe it will be just a quick little reminder of him that will pass through your consciousness. Like you, we’re experiencing more losses as we age, some bigger than others; but most are people we liked who came in and out of our lives.

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    • Yes, that is one of the down sides of aging: too much loss. We’ll think of Mike every time we look at our house and see all the ways he helped us improve it, and every time we need something done or have a question and our first thought is still, “Let’s call Mike and see what he has to say about it.” He was a friend and also a very dependable helper. He is very much missed, and I am so sorry for his wife and family. I know they were very close!

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  14. Oh yes Ann, so very true. And I am deeply sorry for your loss and for his family who must be grieving. You’re right, it’s those ordinary people, like Mike. going about their lives who make the world a better place. Thanks for this reminder and I hope you’re well on the mend now. Love and hugs xx

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  15. I am so sorry for your loss of this dear soul. I will pray for his wife and family. Kindness is the key to life; it changes the world one person at a time. As many people have mentioned here, life is fragile. The best way to deal with that seems to be with an open and giving heart. When we respect the fragility, we respect the beauty as well.

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    • Yes, I do have problems sometimes with real Christmas trees. It’s not the tree itself, it’s the mold and mildew that can sometimes be on the tree. Since we never know how it will go from year to year, we put an artificial tree in our living room, and a real tree in the basement where I’m not too exposed to it. But taking the decorations off it means I’m up close and personal with the tree for several hours, so I was hoping my symptoms were a result of that. Sadly, they weren’t. But still, it gave me a way to appreciate that the staff at the urgent care clinic were exactly the same sort as our friend Mike, and that made me think about just how many “unsung heroes” there were among us. There are many, and we are very lucky to have them.

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    • You’re so welcome! And yes, when we reach a certain age we come to know far too much loss. But the upside is that we also learn not to take anyone for granted anymore, and to value the good people we still have. And Mike was certainly one of the good ones!

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  16. I agree with you about the people who deserve the accolades are often the ones who are overlooked. A kind word goes a long way and as I get older the more I cling to this idea. Great post for the beginning of the year.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I’m sometimes annoyed at how much people play up cops and firefighters and military personnel, as if everyone else’s service is worth pocket lint. Every job, if performed with effort and integrity, deserves respect.

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    • Thanks, Barb! You’re right, things would be so much better if we realized that we really are all one of the “ordinary people,” no matter what job we happen to do, or what role we happen to fulfill. The important thing is that we do our tasks to the best of our ability, and treat others with kindness and respect, and keep our integrity intact. If we all did that, this world would be such a better place!

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  18. I absolutely agree about the importance of normal people who are kind and honest – they are often the true and unsung heroes in all our lives. I’m very sorry for your loss, and also about your cold – I had inflamed vocal chords over a decade ago and it was awful as you really can’t speak at all then. Hope the steroids helped!

    Liked by 1 person

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