A friend and colleague passed away last week. Totally unexpected. He was only 51, and seemed to lead a charmed life. Successful in business. Won awards for his landscaping projects. Volunteered at his daughter's school and in the local and state trade organizations. He was the perfect host and grillmaster and participated in a lot of outdoor activities. And the kind of guy that would make anyone feel at ease and consider him one of their best friends... and was sincere about it. I hired him as a sub to do decks and fences when I was doing full landscape jobs over 20 years ago and that's how we met. I taught his crew all about irrigation when he added to his license and made a transition from mostly outdoor construction to include irrigation and landscaping maybe 10 years ago. Meanwhile, we shared a love of live music, good food and good beer and went to a few concerts together. He had big Super Bowl parties and a lot of other celebrations at his house. Spent a long relaxing weekend at his lake house a couple of years ago. And now he's just gone.... leaving a lot of us second guessing ourselves, wondering if there was anything we could have done. I guess sometimes looking at a life from the outside looking in we see things a lot differently than they do from the inside looking out. Especially when they are in pain. I think depression must cloud judgment and makes things seem more hopeless... So, just a reminder... hold your loved ones close. Let them know how much they mean to you. Don't be stingy with hugs. And offering a helping hand or a kind word just might make a change somebody's day... or save their life.