Reprise of "Resolve To Share Your Love"
Today, July 30, 2007, would have been the 66th birthday of Larry Moore, my best friend for 57 years of our lives. Some of you know the story of his passing at the end of 2003 following a horrendous motorcycle accident. On January 18, 2004 the Daily Pilot published the following commentary. In honor of my friend, and to mark the anniversary of his birth, I've reproduced it here for you.
Not a day passes when I don't think of my friend and our lives together. I recall the positive impact he made on the people around him, the love he shared with all of us and the contribution he made to law enforcement around the world. I hope that, when you read this remembrance, you will pause in your busy lives and contemplate your friends and how much they mean to you. More than that, I hope you will find a way to tell each of them how you feel. Life is short - don't wait.
Resolve To Share Your Love
By Geoff West
January 18, 2004
I hope your 2003 ended with days filled with visions of sugar plums dancing in your head, holiday spirit lifting you and the joy of loved ones surrounding you.
I ended my year standing before an overflow crowd at the alter in an unfamiliar church, delivering a eulogy for a man who had been my best friend since we were 5 years old. I stood before the throng, which included childhood friends and relatives, college friends, friends he had made during more than 30 years on the job, and more recent friends, acquired after retirement, and I tried to condense a lifetime of friendship into the very short time allotted to me on that cool, dreary post-Christmas day.
Before it was my turn to speak, I sat clutching my wife's hand, fighting back tears, as my friend's eldest daughter — from whom he had been estranged for nearly a decade at her request — spoke eloquently and passionately about her father.
She told us a story of how, many years ago, a cruel schoolmate teased her about his profession as a police officer. She had been taunted as a "piglet" — the offspring of a "pig." Her father explained to her that the term "pig" was an acronym for pride, integrity and guts.
She told us example after example of her father's pride, integrity and guts, both as a father and policeman. As I listened to this young woman speak, beaming with pride as she talked about her father, it was clear why she had chosen to follow him into law enforcement as a career.
My thoughts flashed back to the last few weeks of my friend's life — when he hovered near death for 44 days in a distant hospital after suffering horrendous injuries from a motorcycle accident on a lonely desert road early in November. By all rights, he should not have survived the crash, but a series of fortuitous events converged to save his life.
He was discovered almost immediately by a group of foreign tourists — strangers in a strange land — who summoned nearby railroad workers. They, in turn, summoned the rescue workers, stayed at his side until they arrived and insisted that he be helicoptered to the right hospital, where his life was saved.
For a month and a half, I stayed near his bedside and watched the staff at the hospital as they skillfully juggled procedures and medications — trying to find the right combination of treatment that would return my friend to us. It was a roller coaster ride for us all, but especially for my friend, who fought with all his considerable strength to come back.
Very early one morning in the last week of his life, a conscientious nurse turned off his sedation, which had kept him floating in and out of consciousness, to see how he would react to the change. The goal being to prepare him for release to a rehabilitation facility. Coincidentally, or perhaps guided by something else, his former wife and the eldest daughter — who had spontaneously decided to make that long drive across the desert to see him — arrived at precisely that time and ended up having a wonderful visit with him.
Even though he could not speak, he was able to communicate through the firm squeeze of his hand, the nod of his head, crinkling of his brow and tear-filled smiles. In the pre-dawn hours that morning, in the trauma intensive care unit in a hospital in a city far from home, he reconciled with his daughter. Having lost his father much too early, and feeling that he had left some important things unsaid, my friend made it a point to tell his friends how he felt about us. When he grabbed you in a bear hug and said, "I love you, amigo," you knew he meant it.
Later that week, as I stood in the doorway of his hospital room for the last 15 minutes of his life and watched his doctor orchestrate a dozen people trying — unsuccessfully — to bring him back one more time, I knew he left us with nothing unresolved.
I share this very painful, personal story with you today to remind you, as you prepare unattainable New Year's resolutions, that life is much too short. I encourage you to make only one resolution this year: to tell the people you love how you feel. And keep it. Remember my friend and his daughter, and don't wait until it's too late.
I wish a safe and happy new year to you all.
• GEOFF WEST is a Costa Mesa resident.