Today I have been a bit teary eyed as I received some sad news. I learned that my friend Wilbur had recently passed away. Wilbur and I met at our Toastmasters club in 2000. He had been a fixture at the club for quite some time. Wilbur created our club’s first website, took photos at the meetings and speech contests, maintained the weekly club schedule, provided guidance and advice to new club members and was just an all around nice guy who loved a good joke. He always encouraged me and went to every club contest. When I was the club representative at many contests, he was my biggest supporter. His name for me was Princess and it made me feel so special.
Wilbur had been retired for quite some time. He loved airplanes and had been a pilot in the air force in the 1950’s and afterwards, was a pilot with Pan Am. I quit our club in mid-2004 when I went back to work and had less time available. After that, he continued to email me every week with jokes, interesting articles, animal photos and more. In the last few months, I had been so busy with my own life that I did not notice I was not hearing from him as usual. My emails to him began to bounce back with “mailbox full” messages. I called his two phone numbers but they were disconnected. This was not like him at all, and I began to fear the worst. After contacting a mutual acquaintance from our club, I learned the bad news.
About a year ago, Wilbur and I met for dinner at his favorite restaurant La Michoacana. He regaled me with stories of his youth and early adult life. I enjoyed knowing him and feel so sad that he passed away very suddenly. I wish I could have told him how much i appreciated having him in my life. It just gets so much harder when the people you love get older and then they are gone.
Yesterday, I finally got around to working on my new year’s resolutions. As it happens, I had decided that this year I need to spend more time with friends and family. And now I will be sure to let them know how much they mean to me, as well.