In memory of a friend — RIP, Rodney

A week ago I received an email from the sister of a friend named Rodney. She wrote to share the very sad news that Rodney had been killed in a car accident.

It’s always sad when someone passes away, and it seems even more tragic when it’s sudden. Unlike watching a relative in ill-health as they decline over a period of years, the shock of an unexpected death (of someone you were just speaking with) is a bit of a jolt.

I’ve known other people who have passed away over the years but I’ve never blogged about it before. So why am I blogging about it now? Here are my reasons:

First, I’ve been trying to share a bit more of myself and my life in this blog. I tend to stick to business topics on my blog and, for the most part, that’s okay; but I do want to be a little more human. A big part of that inspiration to be myself actually came from my deceased friend. Rodney’s life had some twists and turns and he was always human — unfettered and willing to share the joys and the warts of life. And even during some of his most difficult times, he always made it a point to ask about how I’m doing and how my wife was doing and how my business was doing (which I always thought was a kind courtesy that I frequently forget to ask others because I tend to be pretty focused during business calls).

The second reason I’m blogging about Rodney is because he had a huge impact on my business. Probably more than he realized.

  • We worked together very early in my career (actually, he was my direct report for my biggest client at the time) and he guided a lot of my thinking about content, pricing, and work habits. The work we did together in that company remains one of my proudest accomplishments in my writing career.
  • Later, Rodney left that company but we remained friends and I sought out his insight and expertise when I was writing about the Business Diamond Framework for my master’s thesis.
  • And later still, we became good friends who spoke on the phone every couple of months but who interacted almost daily on social media. During that time, we helped each other with our businesses (he was doing some marketing writing for a while and then later started an art studio). It was a privilege to be able to “repay” some of his business advice and assistance with some of my own. Just days before he passed away, Rod asked me to review his second book — a work he had just finished writing and was in the process of publishing. (I would love to share it with you but he wrote it under a pseudonym so I’ll honor his privacy). We had even talked about collaborating on a seminar.

And the third reason I’m writing this blog post is because I wasn’t able to attend his funeral (which was in a different province). So I’m writing this blog as a type of eulogy. Rodney had a business brain and an artist’s sensibilities. He was an avid connector of people and ideas. He sought out the good in everyone and everything.

Cheers, Rod. Thank you for inspiring me!

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