beer glasses

I’m going to deviate from my usual marketing / design blather to talk about a local business owner that recently took his own life. For the record, I never met this man. I had wandered into his establishment once a month for the last year or so for a networking event. He generously let the group meet there each month for about an hour on those mornings and I often saw him wandering around behind the bar, occasionally stopping what he was doing to listen or say a word to someone in attendance.

All I knew about him was what I learned in a five minute presentation.

The only time I spent with this man was this morning, less than a month after his passing. Just a month after celebrating the 3rd anniversary of his business and stating that he looked forward to growing his business, he was gone. I remember being very upset when I heard about it last month, but finding out this morning that he made the choice himself … well, it shocked me and left me foggy for much of the rest of my day.

The short presentation shared with us was of Kolby talking to the group (I wish I hadn’t missed that meeting) about his journey into entrepreneurship. Even though he proclaimed that he was not an entrepreneur.  I immediately thought, “me either”, because I’m not. Listening to him gave me a sense that he used what ever skills he had to make himself the people around him better. He used this business to reach out to people. He built this business on nothing but kindness. I will forever regret not making the effort to visit with him.

There’s always tomorrow. Right?

That’s the thing about being human, though. Isn’t it? We take time for granted. I said to husband more than once, “we should go check out that brewery”. We just never got around to it. There was always tomorrow. Always another day. Except there isn’t and we never know when that tomorrow will cease to exist.

As a human who struggles with anxiety, depression and, yes, suicidal thoughts … I felt really angry that I found out that way. That it wasn’t in the obituary or that we never heard about a struggle. That’s another thing about being human, though. We hide things we’re ashamed of. I can only speculate as to the state of his mental health. I do know that of all the things he chose to share with his community, I wish he had shared that most of all.

What I learned from Ciclop’s Kolby.

So, I wanted to share what I learned from that short presentation. I could over explain these and type some more nonsense about how awful I feel, but I won’t. I’ll just leave these here and ya’ll can feel free to download and share them. Interpret them however you like. I know what I took from them and I know what I’m going to do with each lesson. I hope you take the time to really think on these. Embrace the lessons that speak to you and share the ones that you think might benefit someone else.

On the subject of mental health, check in with someone you know is struggling. Tell them they are appreciated today. Tell them you need them. Tell them you enjoy what they have to offer. At the very least, they’ll leave this world knowing that they mattered. I hope Kolby did.