Monday, August 9, 2010

Live each day to its fullest.

(Allen, Cindy & Nascar)

As I sit here typing away, getting a late start to my Monday post…I decide to change my initial topic of “Is getting a college degree still worth it?” to something much more personal and dear to my heart. We live in a world in which we are constantly multitasking. We answer texts and emails while pretending to be interested in what the person sitting right in front of us is saying. We surf the web on our laptops while watching movies we supposedly couldn’t wait to see. We approach each fleeting moment only to anticipate the next. We forget just how much life can change with such little notice.

We meet many people in our lives some come and go while others leave an imprint that forever changes the very nature of our being. They give us hope and reinvigorate our faith in humanity, they remind us that there are still good people out there. I had the pleasure of meeting Allen & Cindy Stockman 5 short years ago when I started working for a client who had been in the entertainment industry. Allen & Cindy worked as my client's estate managers handling all the goings-on if you will around the house and taking care of the needs of a very busy family. We were in the trenches together and quickly became close friends.

The 3 of us were constantly around people who were completely out of touch with reality and for all intents and purposes lived on a different planet than we did. While I would sometimes look at all of my client’s unobtainable toys with wandering eyes Allen & Cindy were impervious to envy and cared more about the simple joys of short weekend trips in their 5th wheel and quality time with each other.

They later left for a job managing a breath taking estate in Napa Valley to be closer to their aging parents. We managed to stay in touch and I was fortunate enough to have been able to visit them in a place that defined the term “getaway”. From the second you heard the sound of car tires on a gravel driveway you knew you were some place special. The mild, quiet evenings were so peaceful that speaking in your normal tone of voice made it sound like you were yelling.

I have never been the type of person who could easily impose on friends, no matter how close they are. I have even had friends of mine scold me after they found out I drove myself to the airport opting to pay a ridiculous sum for parking rather than asking them for a ride. So you could imagine how difficult it must have been for me to stay in someone else’s home for several days, surprisingly enough it was never that way with Allen & Cindy. There was just something about their generous souls that made me always wish that I could stay longer. Then, not more than a month after my last visit I received an email then a phone call from Cindy, Allen’s wife telling me that Allen hadn’t been feeling well and that he became so weak and sick that he admitted himself to the hospital. Days later he was treated for an infection and we all thought he was out of woods and I was already starting to plan my next trip. Then things started to take a turn for the worse, and Allen fell into a coma and came out of it paralyzed from the neck down with very little movement in his mouth and can barely even blink his eyes, his original diagnosis was MS and now his condition is simply a mystery to the doctors of UCSF Hospital in San Francisco. “Live each day to its fullest” Cindy would tell me before we got off the phone.

Allen Stockman one of my dearest friends, 49 years young, whom I rode ATV’s with through acres of vineyards cannot even blink his own eyes. His kitchen view of orange trees and jasmine have been replaced with monitors emblazoned with indecipherable images and numbers, how is it that a machine can tell you how a person’s heart is doing? His plans of living the remainder of his life traveling across the country in their RV with his wife of 25 years have been put on hold indefinitely. Allen, I pray for you each waking minute of every day. I will always treasure the memories that we share and look forward to making new ones. I cannot wait to be by your side this weekend and will be there with you when you wake up from this terrible nightmare. See you soon my friend.


  1. Very beautiful post and so glad you have shared this.
    I think it is one of the many wonderful things to realize is that life is a gift and we should all learn to enjoy the time we have with ourselves and others.
    Sounds like a great couple of friends and some wonderful times you have shared
    My prayers are with you and your friend
    Thank you

  2. Thank you Reed! I appreciate your support and continued optimism whenever we work together. Your wisdom and advice mean a great deal to me.

  3. Amazing post, very moving. A very good connection with reality. So many of us try to buy happiness or love with our time and money, while there are some that are content with a quiet evening with a loved one.

    My thoughts and prayers go out to Allen and Cindy, and Nascar.

    It is the memories you have with Allen that will live on forever.

  4. Thank you Allen for your thoughts and prayers. You and I were once in the trenches together too and we both were fortunate enough to move on to better things. Let's grab a scotch sometime soon.

  5. what an incredible and moving post. we all know that we have to appreciate life and our time with loved ones, but sadly it takes a tragic story like this to really make us sit up and take notice. all that multitasking makes us believe we are connected...but not to anything that matters...take you and us - we've been talking forever about getting together and granted, t's schedule wasn't helping, but it's so easy to postpone plans, believing next weekend...and that weekend doesn't come. life is so fleeting, we need to prioritize the things and people that matter.

    thank you for these powerful words, vic.

  6. Thank you Joyce! Yes---moments like these really give you perspective on how temporary things can be.We get so busy and can easily take the most important and simple things in life for granted. I look forward to all of us being around each other sometime very soon, including the triple H gang of Hershey, Hiram and Harley!


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