Dreams, Passion, Loss

For the last two nights I have had dreams about an I.T. client of mine whom I have known for over 10 years (according to my dream, Hurley from Lost was his personal chef). I found out two weeks ago that he passed away in December after a battle with stomach cancer. I have been fortunate over the years to have a lot of clients, but I can safely say that Dr. Dana Launer was pretty unique. He was a colo-rectal surgeon by trade and you would think that a lifetime of looking up people’s rectums would make someone surly, but this man had a zest for life, always a smile on his face. Dr. Launer found out in August that he had developed cancer and subsequently had his stomach removed. I did not find out about this until just before Christmas when he called me to help him set up a computer in his house downstairs because he could no longer climb his stairs. I normally do not go to a client’s house, but with Dr. Launer I have always made an exception. When I was over at his house, we talked of travel. He told me of taking a trip to Lake Tahoe with his kids when they were very young. I shared with him some stories from our latest trip on the Trans-Siberian Railway (he knows Sara very well). He looked at me and said, “I always wanted to take Elaine and travel once I retire. Now it looks like I might never get that chance.” That statement stuck with me and gave me quite a bit to think about. At first, I felt bad for him, because he never got a chance to follow his dream to travel. He had worked hard his whole life, becoming Chief of Surgery at the same hospital where our younger daughter was born. He never had time to play. Then I recalled an earlier conversation I had had with him in the elevator at his office. I was headed to my car, tired after a long day of visiting clients, and he seemed his normal, chipper self. “Why are you so happy?” I asked him. “Because I’m headed to surgery.” I was confused. Of course, he was going as the doctor, not the patient, but to me, surgery meant a long tedious process that would exhaust you even further and was not something to which I would look forward. So I asked again, “So…why so happy?” He answered, “Because this is my favorite part of my job. I am going in there to change someone’s life. I am going to take away their pain. This is why I became a doctor: to help people.” I do not feel bad that Dr. Launer never pursued his dream of travel. He pursued a lifetime of his passion. I will miss him. Good-bye, Dr. Launer. The secret to enjoying your life is simple: Find your passion. Don’t postpone it. Pursue it. Not next week. Now.  
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