Hail Aaron. Long will you be remembered.
He died this week, early in the week, on the Christian day of rest. Which is perhaps appropriate for a man who went above and beyond for his friends, family, clients, and strangers, who didn’t take rest for himself. He left a wife and two young children, a daughter and a toddler son. He was 33 years old. He and my son became friends 21 years ago, and remained friends to the day he died. They got into a lot of trouble together. They dated and married girls they grew up with, they had children at the same time. They helped each other out with car repair, marriage advice, child care, and more.
He was a quiet sort, chronically exhausted looking, who possibly drank more than he should but worked very hard to make sure his family had a home and a roof over their heads. He would sacrifice his weekends helping his friends and family work on their vehicles, or help them move, or take care of things around the house that they were unable to do because of health. He recently stayed at work until 10pm, on his own time, to make sure a family’s car was running properly and safe. The day he collapsed in his garage he had been reading the thank you card the family sent to him. They thanked him for his dedication, and for the fact that because of him, they were able to take their vacation without worry.
He got sick in December, had a little bronchitis but was well enough to continue working. He never got better though. He ended up getting pneumonia apparently, and still continued to work. He was working the day he collapsed in his garage. He hit his head on the way down and ended up vomiting while unconscious. He aspirated on his vomit and quit breathing. He was likely down for about 8 or 9 minutes before anyone found him. He coded twice, once on the way to the hospital and once there. He was placed on a ventilator and admitted to ICU. He never regained consciousness. They took him off this past Sunday. He passed 6 breaths later.
He had a premonition. I know he did. He told his wife the week before that if anything happened to him he did not want to be on a machine, not even for one day. He told her what she should do with things of special value to him. They were going to write a will in the coming weeks. He was an organ donor and made sure she knew he wanted to donate whatever could be used.
When he passed, because he was an organ donor, the hospital announced a Code Hero on the intercom system. Every staff member that was available lined the halls from his room to the operating room where they took him to harvest his life saving organs and tissues. Because he was young and healthy before this happened, there was much that could be donated. He saved the lives and restored health of between 40 and 50 people by his donation.
He died perhaps too soon, perhaps at the appointed time. He spent his life building up his family and his friends, even at the cost of his own health. He leaves a legacy of dedication, love, commitment, trust, and loyalty. May his ancestors welcome him home.