No matter how happy and successful you become, there still hangs above you the Damocletian sword of grief, waiting to fall. It came for me at 9:07 this morning, when my friend Paul Falcone called to tell me our beloved softball coach, friend and surrogate father, Chuck Dima had just passed away.
Chuck was my first coach, when I began playing 12 years ago. He founded our league about 35 years ago, and served ever since, coaching, mentoring, and creating a safe space for many young players. He was so much more to me than a coach. Chuck taught me about making a life, and making a difference. I’ve spent most of the morning in tears. But that's a small price to pay for 12 years of having the honor to love a man so rare. And as my friend Craig Bradley says, we need to keep our heart right, even when it is wounded.
All our lives will be touched by pain and sorrow at some point. Like it or not, no one escapes without the bitter tears of anguish. None of us like this, and we try different avenues to escape it, looking for that unceasing happiness that is always just out of reach. You can try drugs, alcohol, or other acting out behaviors, but alas, there is no escaping adversity. Life is a journey of ups and downs, exhilarating highs, and heartbreaking lows.
And that is the delicate dance of prosperity…
As a child you want nothing better than to be grown up. As an adult, you long for the lost bliss of childhood. The poor chafe under the yoke of poverty. The wealthy fear losing their riches. Sometimes we think so much about what we want, we forget to appreciate what we have. I hope you’ll take a moment and reflect on the people and other blessings you have in your life right now. And for those that are no longer with you on this existence, it’s okay to feel the sadness. But celebrate the joy as well.
Many seek religion or intellectual philosophy to protect them against pain. Sadly even these cannot inoculate you from the intrusion of heartache. But what we can do is understand the nature of it. Pain, sorrow, and other adversities can be corrective and remedial. And they are not permanent, simply states we go through and grow through.
Could we really appreciate the sunshine if not for the rain? And would we ever welcome the spectacular thunderstorm without experiences the sun?
Please: Don’t be so afraid to die that you forget to live.
I have a softball tournament coming up this weekend in Dallas. And Coach, I’m going to hit one out for you!
Sorry to hear of your loss, Randy. Heart-ache is just part of being human, isn't it? We can resist that, or accept it - and it is also perfectly human and natural to resist. As we know - the longer we resist, the longer we suffer.
Thank you for having the grace to turn your sorrow into a lesson for all of us, to treasure our dear ones while they are still here.
Great post my friend. Lots of love to ya. I know how close you two were and that you will continue to share his wonderful ways for a long long time. He did so much for so many people. Great blog. Keep your head up bub. See you in Dallas.
Thanks for sharing this message with us. So many people die with their song left unsung within them. Glad that you made the choice to let's yours out and have amazing people in your life to guide you along the way. What a blessing you and model you show to us every day that allows us each to know that we can do it and live it too!
Keep living your dreams my friend.
Make it a great day!
The GREAT Edward!
I'm so sorry for your coach's death.
I know exactly how you fell, believe me, if there's somebody who knows about lose people...that's me.
I lost my father eight years ago. After that I had an unwanted abortion, so I didn't know my son. Finally I lost my mather one year ago.
As you can imagine, all these losses meant a lot of pain and suffering. But as you say, we can choose how to react againts life blows, and in my case, I can say I am a stronger women today , I live my life the best way I can in their name, also I know my parents are still with me in other way, as your coach will be with you for ever.
Please, receives a big huge from me, remember death is not the end.
Thanks it sounds like you are on the path upward now.
So sorry to hear about your loss. Remember, the coach lives inside you each and every day and his legacy continues through you.
Randy, I'm truly sorry for your loss. It's obvious from your writing how much this man meant to you.
And it's just as obvious that you've got a great grasp on what's important in life to be able to offer such a great lesson on such a difficult day.
So sorry to hear about your friend and coach. I have had 5 people in my life pass away between Thanksgiving and March of this year. I hope I'm through all that now. But it has been very difficult.
Thanks for sharing your experience to help us learn from your experience as well. None of us are immune and it's important to remember the good times that we had with them - not just the grief of their passing.
I'm so sorry for your loss. Clearly, the love and wisdom your friend, mentor and surrogate father shared with you in life, remains to comfort you.
I too have lost those those mentors and surrogates and found one of the greatest gifts they gave me was how to live and appreciate what we have each and every day.
Thank you for sharing even in a time of pain.
"What we once enjoyed and deeply loved we can never lose, For all that we love deeply becomes a part of us."
— Helen Keller
I am sorry to hear about your loss! And thank you so much for sharing your message and wisdom with us. I'll keep you in my thoughts and in my heart today, sending you Love.
Well said, my friend!!
Gracias Randy por compartir los momentos de dolor que esta pasando,todos hemos pasado en algún momento de nuestra vida situaciones parecidas de mucha tristeza. Pero cuando experimentamos que el ser sigue estando vivo, porque es solo su parte física la que no esta y no la vemos, sentimos alivio. Un gran abrazo y gracias nuevamente.
My heart goes out to you as you go through and grow through this pain....I just cried with you my friend. If there were a way to reach through this blog and hug you while we cry, I would. Sending you a cyber hug right now.
AND JESUS CRIED. (John 11,35). IF JESUS CRIED BECAUSE OF HIS FRIEND´S DEATH...WHY YOU COULDNT??? EVEN WHEN HE KNEW WHAT HAPPEN WITH US WHEN WE PASS AWAY...HE ALSO CRIED. THIS KIND OF PAIN IS INHERENT TO OUR HUMAN NATURE. THE POINT IS: WHY WE CRY? AND: WHAT WE BELIEVE IN? LIKE CHISTIAN: WE WAIT THAT MOMENT LIKE OUR GAIN. PRAY FOR HIS SOUL,IS IN FRONT OF HIS CREATOR.
Ever read Brave new World where try to ban anything that can make you sad such as Shakespeare and the drug Somma to keep you happy... but how would you know if you were happy if you were never sad...
Hope I don't sound too callous but I tend to minimize death... must be the Buddhist part of me.. I don't want anyone crying when I kick it.. I want a party and a celebration.. lots of good booze, blast my fav Stones bootleg and remember the good times... Bob Fosse left 25 of his closest friend a grand apiece to have a good time on him when he kicked it.. good idea...
I am sorry for our loss. Although I never met Coach Dima, I'm certain he had an important role in my life through you.
I am comforted by this from David R. Hawkins:
"There is nothing the mind believes that is not fallacious at a higher level of awareness." - David R. Hawkins, M.D. Ph.D.
You're so lucky to have had Chuck in your life. Your one statement "Chuck taught me about making a life, and making a difference." shows what an impact he had on your life. The lessons you learned from him are something you'll continue to share with others.
Soon you'll be able to throw away the pain and what you'll have left will be all the lessons.
Ag Randy... I'm crying with you...
Because this man did so much - creating a community, and a place where around the world awesome sportsmen could come together in celebration, acceptance, and togetherness. Enjoying each other, living childhood dreams of goodness, connection, team work, and Sexiness! He gave you a place to wear those gorgeous outfits that make you Divine! That's definately brownie points in heaven! xox
And I'm grateful to think he gave you the father you never had... and I know you'll feel a spark of love. He's so forever in your heart, and each time you step up to bat, and every catch you make...He'll be there. He is there. So loving you. Always.
Oh and he endured so much pain... which you did the best to alleviate. Thanks for all you did for him. I'm sure most "parents" wish they had a "son" like you... so grateful...
I love you so much. I wish I was there to pass you tissues. And hear stories or swirling memories to hold them as a touchstone for you... So much love, dear soul!
Yes, this is so true. The ancient wisdom of the East always referred to this as Yin/Yang, or the balance in Life. There can be no love without fear, no up without down, and no good without evil.
Of course we have to make the conscious choice about which of these areas in Life to focus our attention, too. My Porsche just got hit while parked, so I prefer to look at what happened as an opportunity for new paint, etc. as well as to be grateful nobody was hurt. It's also a lesson in looking at my Life to see how I attracted this as well.
So yes, we have to pay attention to the balance and above all, be Grateful, give Love and know that the more good we do, the more good we will receive.
My heart feels for you right now. ♥
It is never easy to be left behind here by someone we care about - but then again, even painful endings always bring with them a gift.
Last year, I lost my Father after finally finding him and having known him for only 7 years ... not nearly long enough. But from this vantage point I can say that while I still miss him, my memories of our conversations and times together are somehow made clearer, sharper and more precious by his absence. Seems unfair - but this is the legacy of those who impact us deeply, only to leave before we do.
Yes, appreciate what - and who - you have in your life. Take no one for granted and bless them with your Love every chance you get. In fact, while you're at it ... bless everyone ... just because you CAN. 🙂
Sending a Hug,
Randy, I'm so sorry for your loss. It sounds like Chuck was a special man.
I'm glad you had the opportunity to know him; I'm sure he was very proud of you.
“The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” - Martin Luther King, Jr.
I understand all too well what you are going through Randy, embrace the feelings and honor your friend by being your authentic self (which I am sure you always are) "Dont cry because its over, smile because it happened" Bob Marley
In the midst of your tears comes a heartfelt life lesson penned for us. Thank you. Sending prayers and positive thoughts your way.
Sorry for your loss Randy, Hang in there, the pain passes.
So sorry for your loss Randy.
You are right, it doesn't matter who we are or what we've done, we are never truly prepared for grief when it knocks on our door. Yet it is a tremendous gift, it enables us to honour the individual, to enjoy the past through our memories, to be acutely aware of the present and to be given a chance to determine our future by appreciating what we've had and what we have.
I too lost an Elder today, Auntie Mary an aborigine Elder, an amazing woman.
Aho! to all the Elders and thank you for all you gave us.
I haven't posted in awhile. I just wanted to let you know how sorry i am to hear of the loss of your friend and mentor. My thoughts and love are with you at this difficult time.
Lots of love to you!
Hi randy -I was really moved by your post, and want to thank you for being yourself! So very sorry to hear that your beloved Coah has left this life and moved to a new one! But it is so lovely to hear how you will honour him by living even more determinedly for him and all he represented! It is such a terrible shame that our beautifuk people leave us! But what a GIFT that we shared some earthly time with them, eh! Kind regards, Janet Hill
Here's a giant bear hug and shared tears. Your loss is ours also. I am very blessed that he shared who he was with you, so that you could share who you have become with us.
Sorry for your loss.
Randy, I feel your lost. LOVE is the greatest healer, and your love for your coach is uplifting.
I too lost a unique individual this past weekend, my aunt. She epitomized unconditional love. I spent my summers away from Harlem in Puerto Rico as a youngster, and Tia Raquel taught me the simple things in life of gardening, preparing special lunches and wise ways to live life. She will always be in my heart as so will your coach Chuck be in yours.
Randy, your loving intention this coming weekend to honor your coach is wonderful. Have fun and Smoke that ball!
Sorry for your loss.
You're very much a Bodhisattva of the Earth...from what I understand you can be this even if you don't practice Buddhism..
Thanks for the encouragement...
I'm so sorry for your loss. I know no words can mend that, but remember the good you shared, and that what he passed on to you will always be there and part of you. Sending you lots of love.
Thanks ALL so much for the love!
It is in times of loss and sorrow that we realize the true value of what one leaves behind. The impact we make on others lives, the time we took to listen, hear, care, and console. These are the imparishable gifts your friend has left you with Randy.
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted" Matthew 5:4
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I fear no evil, for you are with me, your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Psalms 23:4
He heals the broken hearted and binds up their wounds. Psalm 147:3
Feel blessed that you had someone as valuable as Chuck in your life that you feel such loss at his passing. How wonderful it is that he lived a life that impacted you so deeply and positively.
Much love and many hugs.
I am happy that you had the opportunity to cross paths with such a wonderful man and know him for 12 years - what a treasure. Take a deep breath when you're about to bat at the tournament and BELT THAT BALL. I'll be watching out for it here across the pond!
I am happy that you had the opportunity to cross paths with such a wonderful man and know him, learn from him and love him for 12 years - what a treasure. Take a deep breath as you're about to bat at the softball tournament and BELT THAT BALL. I'll be watching out for it here across the pond!
I'm sorry for your loss. He will be in my prayers.
May God comfort their families and loved ones..
I am so sorry for your loss.
Hi Randy, I'm very sorry for your loss. Take care. And yeah, hit one out the park for Chuck this weekend!
Wow Randy, sorry for your loss. Chuck sounds like a great man and he will always be with you in spirit.
My thoughts and prayers are with you. Chuck will live on in your heart and wonderful memories, and you know he will certainly be there cheering you on this weekend.
Sending you a big hug.
Love and blessings, Gail
So sorry for your loss. Going through a loss just a couple of days ago myself, I can truly relate what you have just described...
Thank you very much for your wise words, even in pain... I don't know your coach Chuck Dima at all, but I am eternally grateful to him for making you who you are now, who are transforming thousand of lives, including mine.
RIP Chuck Dima.
My dear Randy. Sorry your pain! Really no words to alleviate the pain of losing a loved one, just knowing that at some point we will meet somewhere else. We remember with the best that we have left. The way to honor them and those we love who have left us valuable lessons is acting according to what we were taught! Surely beyond human understanding, our loved ones, watching us from there. In October 2010 my father passing away. I can understand what you can live your heart. Force and a hug from the heart. Lot of fraternal love
Randy, thank you for your words of wisdom. My heart nods with familiar heaviness at your loss. Such generosity...to share this moment, to let us in at a time of emptiness or confusion. Randy Gage is the new engaging! Thank you again, Randy.
I knew Chuck Dima since 1977. I played on his teams and against his teams. His kindness and generosity will live on forever in the hearts of those of us who knew him.
Don't concern yourself so much about hitting one out, but about doing all the little things that win softball games, the line drive singles and the good fielding, because seeing players do those things made him happier than anything else. Hitting a single behind the runners to drive in runs would cause him to have a big smile and be the best legacy to him.
Of course, you're absolutely right.
Thank You for sharing your personal stuff with US...may your lessons bless us all..I LOVE YOU!!
I'm sorry for your loss. I always enjoy your posts. Even when I don't agree they give me much to think about....and sometimes change my perspective. I think it's good to grow in this way.
Thanks for the posts! You are going to be in DALLAS this weekend? I'm in the area, is it JUST for baseball?
Yes I never mix business with something as important as softball!
You already "hit one out" for him with this post. Strong, steady, smooth swing. Nice hit.
I appreciate you RG.
I'm so sorry for your loss.
I appreciate you and I love you Randy!
Beautiful post! I'm so sorry for your loss. As a member of the BASL, I am indebted to our founder for creating an organization that has fostered so many friendships and so much love and sense of belonging. May Chuck rest in peace.
I'm sorry for your loss, Randy.
Love and blessing.
I am sorry for your loss, but rejoice in the fact that you were shaped by Chuck and vice-versa.
Each and every person we encounter shapes us- whether we like it or not.
"Don't be so afraid to die that you never live."
Words to live by. Wish I had known that sooner.
There are times when I become anxious about never being able to achieve things though, due to not having had good circumstances growing up, but I push anyway.
Not doing something scares me more now.
I am sorry to hear of your loss. I lost my mom, my very best friend in life, four years ago. You are so right....it is alright to feel the grief and sadness, but remember to appreciate the fact that you had the opportunity to have such a great person or relationship in your life!
Thank you for all of your posts, sometimes they confuse =) but I always find the lesson in them.
I wish you the best, now and always.
Just read all the comments, you so deserve all the love and more. I remember the piercing grief I felt when I read your post last year, where the possibility of losing you broke my heart...so I can't imagine how much of that grief must be rocking you now with the passing of this amazing man you so loved. No words except i love you, big hugs & xoxo.
The world fell out from under me last Monday when my dad, Chuck Dima passed away after a courageous battle with cancer. Last night,I returned home to Boston from his funeral services in Brooklyn missing him more than words could ever express.
While visiting my dad many times in Florida, I wanted to let you know he spoke of you often. He had the highest regard for you as an individual. Interestingly, when unpacking this morning, I looked in a small compartment in my suitcase to find a CD that you gave my dad about "Success".
I thank you for your beautiful reflections about my dad that brought comfort to me. More importantly, I thank you and everyone that filled my dad's life with joy over the years.
Last Monday morning my world was filled with sorrow when my dad, Chuck Dima passed away after a courageous battle with cancer. Upon returning home to Boston after the funeral services, I read your " Lessons of Sorrow".
I want you to know that my dad was so proud of you as a player and individual. He spoke of you often during my visits to Florida over the years. I hope this brings you comfort during this difficult time.
I thank you and his friends for sharing all the wonderful memories of my dad. Thank you for being a special friend in his lifetime.
Hello just thought i would tell you one thing.. This is twice today i've landed on your blog in the last 3 weeks searching for totally unrelated things. Spooky or what?