“As I grow to understand life less and less, I learn to love it more and more.” – Jules Renard
“Life isn’t a matter of milestones, but of moments.” – Rose Kennedy
“Difficult times have helped me to understand better than before, how infinitely rich and beautiful life is in every way, and that so many things that one goes worrying about are of no importance whatsoever.” – Isak Dinesen
“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.” – Abraham Lincoln
Life. What a beautiful thing…only darkened by the tragedy that is often ends far too soon. How does it go? The good die young. Those we love most are often taken from us at the most inappropriate time. Life is fleeting. Life is short. It gives, and it takes away.
This week’s message is written with a heavy heart – in memory of Bret Montague (our TAPFIN Director of Operations who passed suddenly on April 23rd. Taken from us all too soon, Bret’s departure has left a scar in many that may never heal. So if you will allow me, I’d like share a few qualities of Bret and pay tribute to the moments in life he had and the memories he left behind. And in doing so, offer insight on the lessons Bret’s life and legacy can teach us about our own mortality…
A Family Man
A loving father, a wonderful husband, and a good friend to so many. Bret was one of those rare individuals who don’t come along often. He had his priorities in order. He enjoyed life. No, he embraced it. A family man first, Bret loved his wife, son, daughter in law, and beautiful grandbaby more than life itself. For him, family was first. Ask him about his son, and Bret would brag on and on about how proud he was of him and his commitment to his country (his son was a Marine). Ask about his granddaughter Madison, and Bret would literally light up as he gushed about her.
A Business Man
Caring, understanding, but tough as nails when necessary. I’m told he could best be described as that leader who was like the tough family member, who keeps you under the pressure until you share everything, so that he can understand. Then, he takes that understanding and uses it to mutual benefit. Bret left a lasting mark on any company he worked for, and on all those team members he worked with. I am still amazed at the supportive emails we received from employers and team members from past companies he worked with. I know it’s been said you never want to have “He was a great business man” on one’s tombstone, but when your company becomes like a family (as ours has), it is heartening to know the lives one touches through that process.
And a Darn Funny Guy
“To succeed in life, you need three things: a wishbone, a backbone, and a funny bone.”
Bret had a funny bone. There is no question about that. His wit and humor was often the first thing to win you over. Bret never took himself too seriously. He embraced life, but was quick to make light of every moment. To put an exclamation point on this, I want to give you a quick outtake from a testimonial video he gave to Fieldglass at one of their annual User Conferences:
Interviewer: “Bret, this is your third year in a row to come back to our annual user’s conference. What keeps bringing you back all these years?”
Bret (with a sheepish grin on his face): “The plane…”
Life is Short – Live it!
How true that statement is, and on so many levels. I offered the quotes on the front end of this message for a very specific purpose – to send the right message. Whether with family or friends, in personal time or in business: Embrace life. Live it. Love it. Give back. Leave memories. Create moments. And most importantly, make a difference.
Bret did. Will you?