Nearly eight weeks have passed since young Vincent Nold suddenly left us. His passage from life on Earth was as tragic as can be imagined. The grief invaded the biology of our existence bringing a palpable tension to our hearts. Such sadness was previously unknown to me.
Staci and I coached Vincent in running, and in the most recent years cyclocross –which is like cross country only with a bike. More though, Vincent was a friend, a pillar of warmth, and a genuine joy to share time with. He was a protagonist in one of our families finest chapters in life –coaching cross country at Saint Agnes.
Last evening, on a southern-California-like spring day, we celebrated Vincent’s life with a memorial tree planting in our familiar Cherokee park. A swamp white oak tree was planted in full view of the park’s busiest fields. We gathered with his family and cycling community to remember dear Vincent. Many words, thoughts, and humorous reflections were offered. Hands were held. This is always good. Vincent’s life inspired grace. It is how he rolled.
With Vincent, as was the case during his life, and now after he is gone from us, I stand moved and inspired. You see, Vincent helped me today. His dad, Tony, told me Vincent frequently spoke of his desire to become a “cardiac electrophysiologist.” I love the doctoring of the heart rhythm, so it moves me greatly that Vincent considered my life’s work.
Today, as I moved through a dreadfully busy office schedule, I thought of Vincent often. His wish to toil in the same arena made me proud; it helped me remember the simple joy of doctoring. With all of the extraneous pressures on doctors these days, it can become easy to forget the coolness of helping others. Not today though, thanks to Vincent’s inspiration I bopped around the office with pride, like the first day someone gave me a pager. A profession that could appeal to one of Vincent’s character, grace, and strength is high praise indeed. Grin –with pride. Thanks, buddy.
Pedaling by that infant swamp white oak tonight, with the evening sun setting over the grassy knolls of Cherokee park, I grinned, feeling a flush of gratitude, a thanks for life, and the time I had with dear Vincent.
In the years to come, in all seasons of the year, while we ride our familiar park loop, there will stand Vincent’s tree. Now a baby tree, but hopefully, like Vincent, it will grow to majestic proportions.
Thanks, Vincent. I remember, always will.