|At CNN's 10th Anniversary Party|
[This was published 6/27/2011, two days after our buddy Nick Charles passed. His advice - and his journey - are still important to us, are always still in our hearts.]
Sometimes the things we're positive we are best prepared for can blindside us the hardest. Even when a death is imminent and has been publicly acknowledged. When the one about to take leave has celebrated the life he has lived. When he has talked over its approaching end with his family and planned the last details, right down to choosing music for the memorial, and we have almost accepted its inevitability as the moments slip away.
In the two days since we awakened to learn that our pal Nick Charles had quietly left in the night, I have been searching for words to write and frankly they are not coming. This would probably be a big disappointment to Nick, after all the effort he put into teaching us by example that it ain't over till it's over, and that there's nothing to feel sad about when you know you have followed your heart.
It's just that I keep thinking... Nick, of the golden smile and the famously kind soul. Nick, CNN's extraordinary first sportscaster. Nick, who was diagnosed with late-stage bladder cancer that already had spread to his lungs, who underwent all the treatment he could handle, then decided he wanted to spend his remaining precious moments unimpeded by the side-effects of more chemotherapy. He wanted to be free to "feel everything". And he did, he and his loving wife Cory and five-year-old daughter Giovanna. He went on pushing himself, reluctant to close his eyes for a minute, passionate about traveling with the family and passionate about boxing, calling fights for HBO. This man pulled no punches, he gave it everything he had.
Along the way, it was very important to him that we, the ones he would leave behind, clearly understand that none of us is ever completely helpless. "We have control over the way we feel about each day," he would say. "Do you understand?" And we said we did. Why, then, should we now find ourselves paralyzed in disbelief?
I suppose Nick would say there are some things humans just have to go through, before they can move on. But move on now.
"But it's too soon," we would say.
And he would flash that brilliant smile. "Weren't you listening? There's no time to waste."
More on Nick Charles in these blogs, accessible to the right:
NICK CHARLES, FEELING IT ALL March 7, 2011
ADVICE FROM GROUND ZERO April 6, 2011