On December 22nd 2012, the world lost a great man. It isn’t a sad story that I want to tell you today though. I wanted to share my thoughts in honor of my friend because I believe that, even though he would deny it wholeheartedly, he was a true angel.
Doug was of Jewish descent but he was not as strong on religion as he was on the spirit of love and giving. It is in this very same spirit that he touched the lives of many. I met him as a giver in the world of charitable organizations and as I continued to meet and speak with him in the last 3 years, I learned a bit more about who and what this man was and how humble he was about it. Much more is being revealed now that his friends are sharing.
At only 52, he got diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer. Only about a year to live the doctor had said. This man was a fighter though; he needed to negotiate an extension to his lifetime because he felt he had a mission to complete. He was not ready to let go so easy. This is when he came to see me. He needed answers about his own spirituality and life’s purpose. What had he done with his life, and now in the face of illness, what did his life mean?
As Brendon Burchard puts it:
Did I live, did I love, did I matter?
Yes, Doug, you did, all three.
To help himself through the difficulties of illness and treatment, Doug started what he called a blog. It was basically a daily email sent to all his friends. I was fortunate to be one of those who woke up each morning eager to read his thoughts. He was going through his spiritual journey, trying to figure it all out.
He felt he had lived a life of materialism, he felt who could have done things differently, yet here was a man who had touched the lives of so many. His blog hasn’t stopped with his passing… his friends are now sharing their stories. Through the memories, we are finding out more about this man, things he was to humble to share. He was an angel and he didn’t even know it.
Here is one story I’d like to share anonymously.
“I’m really bad with dates but i’m pretty sure it was 1999 when Douglas first came into my life. In a huge way. I was a young single mother of 3 children fallen into a world of drug abuse and every bad thing that went along with it. I was trying to get my life together and started therapy at a place called Project Pride. At this time I was caught in a vicious circle, wanted out but owed money to people that kept me stuck doing what I was doing. I guess Tony, my therapist, mentioned me to Douglas (who did a lot to support project pride) and Doug (through Tony) asked me to write him a letter about myself, my life, and my kids. I didn’t really know why but I figured why not… Long story short, he read the letter asked how much money I owed these people, he gave me the money to pay them so I could get away from them. Keep in mind at this point I still have never met Douglas. He didn’t know me I could have taken the money and done anything with it. Thankfully I didn’t. I paid my debt and decided to take my kids and move back to New Brunswick.
So here I am in New Brunswick with my kids, realizing that a geographical change is not what I needed after all and again I’m stuck. I call Tony who calls Douglas who in turn buys me, my kids and my dog a train ticket to come back to Montreal. Keep in mind, I still have never even seen this man.
I get to the train station and guess who is there to pick me up… yup Mr Douglas. So we all pile into the car and Doug drives us to my mother’s. The kids jump out and I turn to say thanks for everything and this wonderful man hands me 300$, tell me he’s giving me 2 weeks to get my kids enrolled in school, then I start my new job at his company. Let me tell you, I was 25- 26 years old, never had a real job in my life and terrified. I couldn’t say No Thank You after everything he had done for me.
This simple opportunity changed my entire life.So I found out at 26 years old how great it felt to be a contributing member of society. That was all it took for me. I never looked back. It gave me so much pride to make Douglas proud of having made the right decision by giving me a chance. I worked for him for 12 years. Doug would let my kids come the work after school and when I would get up from my desk to go check on them and I would find my daughter sitting on Doug’s lap in his office doing her homework and my 6-7 year old son helping in the warehouse for a 5$ allowance.
I could go on and on about all the stuff Doug has done for me and my family over the years, but he absolutely refused to take credit for it. I would tell Doug he literally saved my life. I’d probably be dead in a ditch a long time ago if he hadn’t come along when he did. He was my miracle. He believed in me when I didn’t know how to believe in myself. He always said it was not him that it was all me. He said I was one of the strongest people he knew and somehow I think him saying it made it so…
I don’t know what else to say.
I loved him…and I will miss him”
There are more stories like this one. We often think of angels as white entities with wings, but they do exist on earth as well and they are among us. Doug was definitely one, touching the lives of many through the miracles he offered. He leaves us with these memories to share on this Holiday season, a time of year of love and giving.
About 18 months ago, he came to me seeking guidance in his spirituality. He was looking for purpose, thinking that he had missed out all his life. He had been through some difficult times and kept some regrets in his heart. Healing and releasing is unfortunately very difficult when you are dealing with the physical realities of illness at the same time.
He may not have believed it himself, however I know that, without a doubt, to his loved-ones and beyond, even to people who didn’t know him, he was an angel accomplishing the very mission he was sent here for. He lived, he loved, he mattered. He did not have children, but he left an important legacy, one of love and giving. A legacy we shall all continue to live by and keep alive in Doug’s honor.
With a big energy hug, the way Doug loved ‘em,
I send you love on this very special season of giving.