Do not go gentle into that good night...

This Dylan Thomas poem was featured on my late friend Ira's "Iraman" blog. It's been just over 2 days since I first learned of my friend's death from heart attack, and the raw sorrow for a great man taken much too early is slowly being replaced with gentle grief for his close friends and family who will be putting his body to rest tomorrow. Ira had so many friends from all over. He was also a devoted family man and always spoke with so much love and pride for his kids and his SO, Nicki. While I am sad for my loss, it pales in comparison to my sadness for those who called a great man father, grandfather, and partner.

I first became familiar with Ira via friends' Facebook pages. I always liked his comments and advice. Often we'd have interesting discussions about a variety of topics on friends' walls. Eventually I sent him a friend request and enjoyed being a recipient of his advice and support on my own Facebook status posts. Ira was a gifted photographer and a Mac computer guy, so he'd offer great input re: these arenas. The last piece of advice Ira shared with me was to wait a few weeks to upgrade my OS to the new OS X Lion...to let the early adopters find the bugs, first.

Ira was also immensely generous. For every race he participated in he donated $100 to the Livestrong charity. I recently benefitted personally from his generosity, as he donated to my JDRF Ride to Cure campaign. This donation forever cemented Ira on my list of "one of the good guys."

Ira was approaching his 65th birthday and had a year of races all over the country planned (half marathons, marathons, half-Ironman, full Ironman)...in large part an excuse to meet far-flung friends.

In addition to being a gifted athlete Ira was funny. Very funny with a wry, self-deprecating sense of humor. He ran into a bit of trouble with the Ironman race folks when he adapted their logo for an "Iraman" graphic. That blog entry continues to be one of the funniest things I have ever encountered on the interwebs.

So many will miss Ira's presence. A mutual friend and I were struck by the realization that Ira's passing marked the first friend that either of us has lost. We've both lost relatives to old age or battles with terminal disease. But Ira was someone we CHOSE to have in our lives. And the suddenness of his passing as an otherwise strong and healthy person made his loss all the more shocking and difficult to process.

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