The evening of March 13, 2017 was very sad for me with the loss of my friend Richard Bowen. I kinda lost it that night ~ 9pm when I read the update on his sudden hospitalization for a brain surgery. He never made to surgery. Eventually, I learned that was a tumor on this frontal lobe, close to this note and eye. I had seen Richard at the gym on March 6th. On March 9th, we got the news he was in Miami, in the ICU, highly sedated and by his mom’s side, waiting for brain surgery. I was shocked. And then, a few more days and Richard is dead.
Immediately, it reminded me that LIFE IS JUST TOO SHORT. It’s about NOW, not yesterday, or tomorrow. Sobbing and filled with sadness, I grabbed the phone and called my best friend to tell her I loved her to death and to reaffirm how important she is to me. She is family to me. Call mom and sister in Brazil and expressed my gratitude and love.
I needed time to reflect. I couldn’t go home. I went from one local bar to the next, not to get drunk, but to be with people. I cried and talked to strangers; we shared ‘stuff’ about life, they met Richard and learned how beautiful his soul was, and we talked about the loved ones in our lives. It helped me get through until I went home about 1:30am.
Tears and deep emptiness continue for the next two days. For the next week, my mind and body decided I needed to take a break, continue to meet people, and grieve. Life is about living, expressing and not internalizing. I wrote, I talked, I showed gratitude, and I realigned a few things with myself.
Why was his time to go? I do not know. This 35 year old Jamaican man, with a beautiful, vibrant, giving, and caring soul, touched many lives, including mine. He was a crossfit and passionate yoga instructor, committed to wellness and fitness (his own and of others). He was a fantastic volleyball player and lately, he was helping teenager boys at a high school to understand the benefit of yoga, breathing, and peace. He was a giver. I am thankful to have met Richard.
We don’t expect a healthy and young person like Richard to go so soon. We must believe God has better plans for him. We must belief that his death is the creation of much bigger things—from inspiring others to be their best, to finding and following their ‘calling’, to bringing people closer, to saving lives of others, to x,w,x I don’t know what, when, how. I do know there is a bigger reason for him to go….beyond anyone’s understanding. It might take months, years, or decades to for these amazing bursts to happen, but they will. I feel it in my heart. I hope his mom and sister do as well. I cannot imagine their pain. Prayers and thoughts with them now and forever.
Richard and I shared a few things in common and maybe explain some of my emotional breakdown.
1. We both left our well paying jobs to follow our passion. Not only we did that around the same time, but also we left it for health, wellness, and fitness. We had talked about possibilities of working together as I build my network for corporate wellness solutions. We also talked about the hardship and stressors of being entrepreneurs and trying to make it.
2. We both play volleyball…He is an indoor guy and I am a double’s outdoor girl. In Oct 2013, I had the honor to be his first female partner in doubles reverse co-ed grass tourney. I got the man outside 🙂 We had a blast!
3. We were both not born in the US. He is Jamaican and I am Brazilian. The latin blood peeps.
4. Appreciation for nature. Sep 2015, Richard joined one of hikes I organized. He loved it. He felt the connection with nature and never looked back. He went hiking many times going forward.
5. Libras always have a spot in my heart. Libras are good peeps 🙂
What was immediate take away?
Richard’s death reminded that’s always about now, in the moment. We must express our feelings and thoughts now, not later. JUST DO IT! Any time in the future might be too late. It is not about fear. It is about being more present and intentional daily.
We get to have a WIN daily. Make a daily effort to add value to at least one person—that’s what brings the best out of us, that’s what makes us humans. Sustaining a healthy lifestyle allows us to express our love, emotions and doing what’s most important to us.
Lastly, I thought it’d share one my fav songs ever. I listen to it almost daily. You might find it inspiring as well. It’s by Katie Perry and it is very inspiring to me.
Rest in peace, Richard! I will miss you.
Update: Click here to see photos of the event our gym, Crossfit Atlanta, did on April 1st to celebrate Richard’s life.