Friday, December 09, 2022

Dan. 1969-2022.

someone i knew passed away yesterday

Dan was 53. he left behind a loving family, who i can't help but mourn for as i sit in my comfortable home with my own family.

one of our mutual friends called me earlier today to give me the news. it was after an afternoon walk with my wife on a rare day where we were both work from home. i've spent the afternoon and evening trying to distract myself with work, interspersed with a few texts and phone calls among the many folks who Dan similarly befriended and mentored.

i met Dan when i was an intern, in an emotionally tumultuous part of my early 20s. he one of the first "digital" guys at my new, big company. back then i remember thinking he was a really, nice, smart, cool dude. then i found out before starting work he traveled the country in a rock band. my mind was blown.

i eventually started working at said big company. Dan was one of the few folks i always modeled my approach after. i could barely hold a candle to his accomplishments, but when i tried to do and be more like him, i really shined. he gave me so many examples and advice that i carried through other parts of my career. i'm not sure he knew that, and i probably didn't thank him enough.

after i left corporate life, we stayed in loose contact. i'd head back to Cincinnati for work trips, and he'd always be one of the folks i wanted to reconnect with for advice, usually outside on one of his smoke breaks, which all of us who he mentored were accustomed to. he was always gracious to help me make further connections. when he found out the name of the new town i lived in, he introduced me to a pal, who soon became a big part of my NY life. 

several years ago, Dan called me because his career was about to connect him with a lot of folks i used to work with in a past job. we reconnected on work and life. once his thing became more official, i introduced him to a few more of my friends from that part of my work/life after him, who i knew he'd be working with. it felt really nice to be able give something back to him professionally.

we traded emails and calendar invites, but they became more interspersed. kind words and short moments, and scheduling gymnastics to find time to reconnect. kids made it harder for me. i know i could have made a greater effort. Dan and his family stayed on our silly holiday card list, with an occasional email here and there over the years. other friends we had in common were much closer to him. i kinda envied them, but didn't sweat it. i knew we'd always find time to connect here and there (maybe even on a podcast), and it would always be great.

i find myself filled with regret that i won't get to talk to my pal Dan again. this feels like a selfish thing to be writing down. i can't help but miss you brother, and send my love to your family and friends who mourn and celebrate your life. 

rest in peace brother,

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