I attended Patrick Nicol’s funeral the other day and was moved by the service and the touching words of Patrick’s friends and family. In reflection, I thought I would share a few thoughts of my own.
I was lucky enough to have met Patrick after I started my first business as a teenager with high hopes and loads of blind optimism almost 30 years ago. In typical Patrick fashion, he took the time to offer his support and told me never to give up. I was smart enough to listen and never look back.
Over the years, I ran into Patrick at community events or just walking downtown and he never lost a chance to ask how I was doing or pat me on the back with a gesture of job well done. A couple of years ago, I wrote a letter to the entire city council voicing some frustrations and only one person took the time to reply, my old friend Patrick Nicol. His common sense advice (and cooler head) solved my problem and the world went on as usual.
It became clear at Patrick’s service that I was only one of probably hundreds of people who had been on the receiving end of Patrick’s unconditional kindness and support. I was humbled as I listened to people describing his love and appreciation for nature and his enormous capacity to give without expecting anything in return. It’s clear that Patrick really was an angel among us, a giant of a man to whom this town owes so much.
I walked out of the service with a heavy heart, but also with a renewed belief in the power of the human spirit, the kind of spirit Patrick shared with people every day. It reminded me of a movie I saw once with a powerful message for all of us. “Earn it,” were the last words of Captain Miller in Saving Private Ryan. Private Ryan spent his life trying to live the best life that he could, earning the life that his comrades had lost trying to save him. If there is a heaven, I do believe Patrick has earned a place there.
Thank you Patrick for everything you have done for me and for all of the lives you touched in your remarkable life.
Thanks for teaching me that what matters most is grace, compassion and unconditional love and through these things, we earn a life well led.