Saturday, December 16, 2017

In Memoriam

Change is inevitable, but changes can sometimes prove difficult for people as they age.  I’m no different.

I’ve learned the skill of acceptance when it comes to changes within Men’s Wisdom Works.  I’m certain that the same holds true with other areas of my life as well.  The toughest change for me to navigate as the founder of Men’s Wisdom Works is the death of our members.

Today, I want to shine the light on the life of a member of MWW who died November 29th, Nick Jordan of Group 5.  This post includes a reprise of Nick's blog post from four years ago.   You'll find it below highlighted in red.  My post today pays tribute to this most generous man and his MWW group who served as Nick’s “Band of Brothers” from the day the group formed until the day he died.

I first met Nick when I volunteered to join SCORE, formerly known as Service Corps of Retired Executives.  Nick was the chapter president for the Asheville chapter of SCORE.  Nick encouraged me to participate as the training director.  I witnessed increasing signs of growth and strength in our local chapter of SCORE via Nick's leadership.

In 2012 Nick joined the then newest group, Group 5.  He disclosed his terminal diagnosis at the first meeting of his group.  His courage helped solidify this group unlike any other I've witnessed.  Besides his numerous volunteer activities and his devoted membership to his MWW group, Nick gave of himself in the most noble of ways.

Upon joining MWW and OLLI/UNCA Asheville and knowing of his terminal diagnosis, Nick created a special program at OLLI fittingly titled the "Gift of Time".

Nick’s "Gift of Time" program helps folks, no matter their current state of health, understand all of the work and planning one needs so family members and loved ones avoid the many sensitive issues that often arise near the end of life.  Participants learn the value of writing these directives, and sharing the papers and plans with family members well before death becomes imminent.

Thus, the burdens and angst over handling and distributing personal affects, financial matters, medical decisions, and even the details of memorial service planning become clear.   The Gift of Time’s contribution is that tough decisions and possible disagreements between family members will not afflict them during a time of high stress.  That stress easily can grow out of control with emotions ranging between grief and pain, and when the likelihood for conflict within a family rises to a new potential high.  Nick’s gift to us all will stand as a legacy and a loving tribute to Nick.  

At the bottom of the blog is photo taken with Nick's dear friend and companion, Betty Doll.  Their smiles reveal their joyous perspectives on life and the happiness they shared in lives together.

Nick's post was the second ever post on this blog.  Here is the reprise of Nick’s blogpost from November 15, 2013:

"I joined one of the MWW groups about 18 months ago. I was interested in meeting new people and exploring topics that could be shared in confidence and with honesty. Over these past months through the dialogue within the group, I have come to not only respect the different personalities within the group but to care about them as individuals with very different life experiences than mine. Through that sharing there have been insights I have gleaned about myself. I have been given the opportunity to talk about things I would not ordinarily share.

There is laughter, humor, pathos, moments of silence as you know you are listening to a very important sharing from someone else. Bonding is a hackneyed word and greatly overused. But bonds of friendship have been formed and I believe if I said I was in trouble and asked for help, the 10 other men in my group would each respond by saying 'what can I do for you'. 

None of us would give up the group meetings, the informal breakfasts we have, some volunteer work we do as a group. This is one of best things I have ever done for myself. All one needs to do is be willing to keep confidences and to open and share as you feel appropriate." 

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