Life is too short

January 23, 2017 at 3:12 pm
filed under things that make me cry
Tagged , ,

So my former co-worker died this weekend. His name was Bradford Frost, and we worked at United Way together. He was only 35. He was way better than me. I remember seeing him at 1212 Griswold, taking the elevator up together, and he was so young and handsome, at first I just wondered who he was. I found out his job was a little different from normal, and he worked directly with the CEO. I was very impressed. I learned that he was regarded highly for his thoughts.

People would twitter on about him a little bit, with genuine fondness. He was likeable. Everybody fawned over him, from where I sat. He was quiet. He looked serious. He dressed well. He smiled. How could someone so cool be so humble? He was. We only exchanged pleasantries, but he was a celebrity in my brain. He was commanding.

We were friends on Facebook for many years, and I so enjoyed following him. I read his articles, his blog, his status updates, I cried when his wife, whom I’ve never met though I feel like I know her, documented her battles with her own cancer. I liked and commented. I glanced through a window to what was happening in this community, spun through his and Dana’s original thoughts and words, and developed new questions and understandings. He remained a celebrity in my brain.

The last time I saw him was at a Detroit conference a couple years ago. Networking was happening in the hallway outside the event, my most dreaded activity. Mobs of people everywhere. I was standing on the wall as usual, alone with my anxiety, observing how normal people behave, and Brad approached me for conversation. He ignored my awkwardness. He was kind, he was brilliant, he made me feel like my words had value — and I barely even knew him. To those who were his friends, how lucky you are.

I couldn’t believe it when he got sick. I still can’t. It’s unbelievable. It’s so unspeakably sad that he was lost so quickly. It’s hard to find a silver lining to the tragedy of someone so good dying so young. But I do know that I admired him, his style, his work ethic, his quiet display of confidence, his passion for his wife, and his desire and organized actions to improve the world around him. I admired him, and in a lot of ways I aspire to be like him. I want to be better, and he was an illustration of what better looks like. My heart is broken for his wife, his family, his friends and his loved ones. I know his circle is wide. I’m glad to be in it and I¬†will not forget him.

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  1. Alli

    on January 24, 2017 at 11:28 am

    I’m so sorry, Kerry! This is so hard.