I don’t know if it’s just because I am getting older, but recently, I’ve begun to start thinking more about my mortality. I mean, not in a morbid way, but the fact that time is fleeting; I mean, how can I not, when I have a young child, and I am often given the well-meaning, but, quite honestly, overly-obvious advice of: “savor every moment, time goes too fast.”
Of course, time is not in a vacuum, and time marches on for all of us, for better or for worse – and this week, I had the unfortunate experience of discovering news in the latter format.
Via Facebook, I learned that a friend and former co-worker of mine, Brian Copeland, had passed away. Although I did not know any of the details, I do know that anytime someone that has made an impact in your life is no longer living – it’s a tough pill to swallow.
Brian was one of those kind of people you could always count on for a smile, a hug, and almost always, a laugh. I had the pleasure of working with him during my tenure as a Cast Member on the Magic Kingdom Dream Squad, in the summer of 2008. We all called him ‘Brian Lightyear, ‘due to his affinity for the Toy Story character, as well as his fun and energetic personality. He was always the first to offer help, the most patient and caring person around kids, and someone you knew you could turn to if you just needed someone to talk to.
Even after our paths changed in life, they’d still cross often! With my frequent visits to Walt Disney World, I’d often scan the lobby of the Boardwalk Inn, where he worked as a concierge, to say hi and catch up. I loved following his Facebook feed too, where he shared his many adventures in the theme parks, which often involved pictures of fun new restaurants, cool experiences, and most importantly, what seemed like a never-ending stream of visits with friends and family – always served up with extra smiles.
Now, when someone passes from this Earth, it is only natural to feel sad, or forlorn – but I honestly feel that Brian would not want this for his loved ones. After all, he was someone who always celebrated life. In fact, his brother (also a friend and former co-worker of mine), Chris, recently shared the request for guest attire for Brian’s services to remain light – something Buzz Lightyear, Disney, or Phillies-related – and that makes me smile. Additionally, Chris shared that in lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to local branches of the American Heart Association (find yours here).
So, while I am saddened by the fact that Brian was never able to meet Abby, I have to smile about all the great memories I do have from our friendship. It will be hard to not look for him the next time I am at Walt Disney World, but I feel that I can rest assured knowing that I know he’s surely having a great time and making new friends in Heaven.