So far in life, I've never had to deal with losing a loved one unexpectedly. I'm very lucky in that regard. One of my high school teachers, in the midst of a stern talk to her students about treating each other with dignity, admonished us that "Tomorrow is not a given." It's the kind of statement that can seem like a remote possibility, until the day it isn't.
Consider the recent death of Eric "Octopus" Norris, the mixed martial artist and athletic trainer who worked at Anytime Fitness in Fountain Valley. Norris, 30, fell off an inner tube while boating in Lake Havasu this summer, then died after a hit-and-run boat driver struck him in the water.
Weeks after Norris' death, I attended a memorial service for him at Mile Square Regional Park. At least one friend, fighting back tears, told of how happy Norris was in his final moments and how swiftly his death came. The entire scene was filled with remnants of a life ended in progress — a table in front displayed Norris' martial arts clothes and medals along with his motorcycle jacket, acoustic guitar and other prized possessions.