This morning, I woke up early.
The baby was crying, and needed to eat. I did what I always do…I opened up my phone, and scrolled through Facebook. And the first thing I saw was the thing that, although I knew was coming, had been dreading just the same.
My dear friend, Ron, had finally been released from his ongoing battle with cancer.
I met Ron in 2009, and worked with him until we made our way from Maryland to Colorado on a PCS. When we moved back to Maryland, Ron was one of the small group of friends I was excited to see again. As trite as retrospect can be, I wish I’d seen him more. Because Ron taught me things. He reminded me of things I already knew, and he reinforced things I try to practice in my day to day life.
I learned a lot of things from him…like how important it is to have someone’s back, even when you want to stab them in it. Ron was a consistent open door, even when it would have been easier to close it. He stood against the masses when the masses were wrong, even when the weight of those masses seemed like they should have been crushing.
Ron did not judge. Rather, he hugged. He laughed. He smiled. When doing things for himself would have been the easiest route, Ron took the hard route so that he could bring someone who needed help on the same journey. It didn't even matter what the journey was, really…it was just common knowledge that Ron would extend his hand and heart and offer you a firm grip on both.
He’d been living with the disease for quite some time. It was rough, and it was agonizing. He allowed us into it. He never hid his pain, or masked his difficulties. Rather, he opened it all to us and drenched it in a such a positive way that it made us adore and admire the hell out of him even more.
There are so many admirable qualities that Ron reminded me were important to keep a hold of. And because I was lucky enough to have him in my life for a little while, I will work a little harder every day to keep those qualities from falling by the wayside of everyday life.
The Army is not an easy way to live. It’s easy to lose track, to get too busy. It’s easy to become inundated with the day to day. At home, at work…there are so many ways to become enveloped in our own lives and forget the importance of those we hold dear.
Thank you, Ron Kyle, for being a part of my life and the lives of so many others.
Your presence will be missed. But your wonderful, kind, funny, thoughtful and jiggy ways will not. Because they will continue, my friend.
We love you.
But then, you know that.