A Picture of Courage

Christmas is tomorrow and as many of you know from reading my columns over the years, this is the one week of the entire calendar that I do not talk about business. Instead, I like to write about stories that truly matter.

On October 8th of this year, our friend Derek Cox passed away after battling brain cancer for 12 years. He was only 37 years old. Jennifer and I met him shortly after he had his first brain surgery to remove a portion of the tumor. Over the years, we would visit each other and monitor his progress. We would rejoice with him every time he received good news that the tumor had shrunk. We took a vacation together to Hawaii and it was the happiest I had ever seen him. He talked about how much he wanted to meet a great girl, get married, and have kids. Unfortunately, he never got that chance.

What he didn’t talk about was the constant pain that he was experiencing. Through it all, I never heard him complain once. I never heard him say, “Why me?” I never saw him mad at God, and I never saw him bitter or angry. In fact, he was quite the opposite. He was always happy, encouraging, and grateful. He always had a smile on his face and his faith soared.

We got word that Derek was in hospice care. He was barely able to speak and he couldn’t walk. We went to see him in Fort Collins and I had a chance to talk to him alone. He could understand everything I was saying, he just couldn’t respond back very well. I told him that I loved him, and that either way, everything was going to be ok. Either God was going to miraculously heal him, or he was going to be in heaven soon. Either way, it would be ok and he would not be in pain anymore. I told him that if he got to heaven before me, to save me a place and then I broke down and began to cry. In true Derek fashion, he reached over and rubbed my leg, trying to console me. Here he was dying, I was alive and well, and he was trying to console me.

What I’ll remember this Christmas is a picture of courage, faith, kindness, and a zest for life. That was our friend Derek Cox. He’ll be a model for the man I hope to be. Take time this Christmas and love the people close to you.

Merry Christmas.

Dan Polimino