When the “Last Impression” Hits Home
Less than a week ago, my dear best friend, Mike Accardi, died unexpectedly of an illness that he only knew about for a week or less. His death is devastating, as he has been a rock in my life for 53 years. Our birthdays were a day apart, and we shared so much laughter, fun, and love for many years, after meeting our sophomore year in high school at Catholic High for Boys in Memphis.
Last week, I celebrated his life and paid my respects to his incredible wife, Judy, and their 3 children, Angel, Joey, and Wyndynne.
I have felt numb ever since I received the text from Judy about Mike’s passing. Put simply, I am in a state of disbelief. Mike and I were both English majors in college, and we loved words and how they could be used to inspire, incite, and comfort. Since Mike died, I have thought over and over about Emily Dickinson’s words.
Because I could not stop for death
He kindly stopped for me.
The carriage held but just ourselves
So, Mike could not stop for death because he was too busy living a life that we should all model.
He was humble, kind, and funny. He was an incredible salesman and a true and loyal friend. He was a magnificent father and husband, and he would always make you feel better by the time you finished a conversation with him than when you started. Mike was a man of God. He was a servant, a leader, a giver, and simply the best person I ever met.
Will he be immortal?
Interesting question with an honest answer.
In my eyes, he will be. In the eyes of everyone who knew him, he will be. He will be talked about for generations by people who knew him or did business with him. That I know. He certainly made a lasting impression on everyone he came into contact with.
That, I believe, is as high a compliment as we can give a person–in life or in death. It’s the highest praise when you can say with abject certainty that he will be remembered for who he was, how he impacted others, and how he lived his life with grace, dignity, class, and love.
I know Mike loved me. I know we shared a bond that I will cherish my entire life. I know he left a family with values and love instilled in them that they will pass on for generations. I know my heart is broken, and it must be only a fraction of the crevice in the hearts of his family. But I also know that if we want to make a difference in this world, we must model our lives like the life of Mike Accardi. Hard work, a loving and giving heart, a drive to succeed but also to make your life have meaning – not just for you but for those you touch. That is the path to immortality, and at worst, you will do what Mike did–leave a lasting impression on thousands.