Life’s Too Short
I try hard to be an optimist instead of a pessimist. It’s tough, as I have always based my beliefs in reality which tends to lend itself to the latter.
Last Friday, I received a call from my dad telling me that Mike Murphy, a local funeral director, businessman and friend had just passed away. Mike was 41 years old, and to many, appeared to be in good health. When people pass away that young, the question is always “Why Him?”. I’ve been struggling with that for the last few days myself. When you talk about a person who made an impact on so many people’s lives, it’s tough to say things like “Everything happens for a reason”.
Mike was a rock for families he served and was always there to give support and kind words. Beyond his time as a Funeral Director, Mike spent years with me on the Board of Directors for the Chamber of Commerce, and was very involved with the Boy Scouts. Mike gave so much of himself to others, that what happened next was no surprise to me.
In our weekend edition, we printed a brief story about Mike’s passing. We also put it up on our website. Over the next few days, the small write-up garnered over 10,000 hits and hundreds of comments from friends and family, all telling how Mike had influenced their lives.
After returning home Tuesday from a night away with my wife, I changed and headed over to the calling hours for Mike in Macedon. Now mind you, there had already been a service the day before in Ontario. As I approached the building on Route 31, all I could see was a line of cars. From the old P&C plaza all the way down to Wal-Mart, the line of cars probably could have been seen from space. I managed to park at a nearby building and walked over to the longest line I’ve ever seen. Folks from all different walks of life- some well dressed, some just off of work – all there to pay respect to a man who helped so many others do the same.
After over an hour and a half of waiting, I finally got inside, just in time to see that it was almost 6 pm. My wife was expecting me home to watch our son as she works on Tuesday nights. Not having my cell phone, I was forced to leave before even getting to pay my respects. Before leaving, I overheard one of the people in line talking about how Mike would have loved to see this kind of turn out for anyone, and would be there with us, standing in the rain with his signature smile.
I can’t possibly imagine the pain his family is and will continue to be going through. As I type this, I have several photos of Mike from various events over the years up on the screen. Mike wasn’t a tall man, however, if the true measure of a man is his strength of his character, then he was a giant. The impact he has made on our community, its residents and especially on me, will remain for years to come.