The Final Foundry Fund

This morning, we made it public that Foundry 2022 will be our last fund. You can read our post about it here. I would also highlight Seth’s and Jaclyn’s posts.

Foundry has always operated with the idea that it wouldn’t outlive its founding partners. I can recall my partners talking about “three funds and done” in 2007 (we ended up outrunning that goal substantially). It was always the intent to lock the door and turn out the lights at the end. The question was who or whom was going to be the one flipping the switch. It feels great to be able to say we’re going to do it together.

Even though we always intended to eventually wind our operations down rather than try to build a generational or legacy firm, we tested this notion over the last couple of years, considered adding new partners, and even spent time meeting a few people. It clearly didn’t feel right for us. We recognized Foundry as special because of the individuals and partnership we’ve shared. Trying to make this a legacy firm didn’t align with our motivations to keep it small, unique, and aligned. We had never planned for Foundry to be a legacy firm and the answer, for us, was obvious as we considered it deeply. 

We sat with the likely decision to make this our last fund for long enough to make sure it felt right to us as a group before sharing it publicly. Ultimately, we thought it was important to share the decision now, well before the fundraising cycle, as it impacts future planning for our limited partners and partner funds. All of us remain fully engaged and will manage the existing funds together. We just aren’t going to keep adding to our pile of Foundry work after this fund. 

As an LP, I wish more people would consider the path we’ve chosen. I think it should benefit our limited partners, our partner funds, and our CEOs to simply honor our existing obligations. For us, this decision and announcement provide clarity, focus on the real work, and alignment across our network. 

Choosing not to be a legacy firm is one way we’ve challenged norms in the venture industry. I’m not convinced that the natural goal for investment firms should be permanence. I don’t appreciate the virtue of that as a goal and I believe it competes with the prioritization of returns and alignment. After two decades, I don’t know of many (any?) venture firms or small investment firms broadly that have gone to the next generation without a few bumps and bruises. It seems the best transitions almost become something else, a new firm and a new culture around the then-current partnership. It might as well have a new name? In my view, that gives you the freedom to operate from first principles without any limitation or hangover from the previous strategy and culture. 

I believe it’s possible to create a lasting, legacy firm if you plan far in advance, recruit and retain future leaders early, and are very focused on protecting the brand of the firm. I think you almost have to set that intention as a goal from day one and put effort and resources behind it. I just question whether that should be the goal for partnerships that are, by their nature, unique.

One of the odd things about an announcement like this is that it doesn’t really change anything in terms of our day-to-day work. We have at least another decade ahead of us managing the Foundry funds. I’m excited to keep working with our founders, partner funds, and limited partners. As I’ve told many of them, you’re still stuck with me for a very long time! I love the community that we’ve built inside our network, counting many of the people as friends beyond the realm of work. It’s motivating to keep working with this crew for the duration. 

The question for me is how I layer in more investing beyond Foundry while maintaining my commitments to our existing funds. There is plenty of time to figure that out with a couple of years left to deploy Foundry 2022. I do know that I have a unique position and access to a network where I want to invest in much more than my individual balance sheet can support (much less even meet the minimums). It’s clear to me that the market cycle matches what I saw in the early 2000s with expanded opportunities across directs, fund and direct secondaries, GP seeding, and backing the best investors of the next generation. I can’t help but be energized for the investment opportunities ahead and beyond Foundry but more on that when the time is right. 

Almost 50?

(A birthday hike to start the morning today)

Or my (very) late 40s as better framing? I’m passing mile marker number 49 today and beginning my 50th trip around the sun. Wow.

How did that happen? The last thing I remember was turning 40? The years of peak family and peak career tend to coincide for many of us. It may leave you looking around wondering what just happened. Cue one of my favorite Talking Heads songs, “Once in a Lifetime”:

“And you may find yourself living in a shotgun shack

And you may find yourself in another part of the world

And you may find yourself behind the wheel of a large automobile

And you may find yourself in a beautiful house, with a beautiful wife

And you may ask yourself, “Well, how did I get here?”

I find myself living in something more than a shotgun shack. A big, lovely house albeit nothing close to what we would build.  

I find myself living in another part of the world. I never would have guessed that we would raise our kids in Boulder. I miss Texas and Texans but Colorado has been good for our family and I always appreciate the weather, especially this time of year.

I find myself behind the wheel of a large automobile. The classic Dad-mobile, a Yukon XL that I don’t really want but serves to shuttle the whole family, a large dog, and all the gear. 

I find myself with a beautiful wife and two beautiful daughters. The most important choice you make in life is your choice of partner. I hope Elle and Alex recognize that dynamic in our family.

I find myself asking, “Well, how did I get here?”. All of us would like to think that there is some big, detailed plan that we’re following along a defined path but it’s pretty clear to us that have been around a while that life is a combination of fortune, randomness, and the intersection of actions or decisions. Making, maybe even forcing yourself to be open to new ideas, new paths, and new connectivity can provide opportunities and experiences that we never would have expected. 

“You may ask yourself, “What is that beautiful house?”

You may ask yourself, “Where does that highway go to?”

And you may ask yourself, “Am I right, am I wrong?”

And you may say to yourself, “My God, what have I done?”

I find myself asking if we really need that beautiful house? Can we further simplify to a place that focuses on experiences rather than assets that end up owning your time?

I find myself wondering, where does that highway go? I’ve always had the travel bug and I’m curious to keep exploring while seeing my kids open up to new experiences and ideas. What comes next is a forward-looking perspective: where will life take us? I want to be here for it.

I find myself asking, am I on the right path? While I love the idea of alternate realities, I don’t think we’ll ever know exactly what we missed. So you have to make the best of the path you’re on, right or wrong. Melissa likes to say that she’s a “Glad it happened” vs “Sad it’s over” person. I strive to be that way too.

And I find myself saying, not “what have I done?” but “what can I do from here?”  We all have limited time with an unknowable expiration date. “Time isn’t holding up, time isn’t after us”.  I’m back in a headspace where I want to see and do more after a tough couple of years. I feel the urgency of time at home and in my investing. The kids are with us for another few years and we need to maximize our exposure with them. At the same time, I see incredible opportunities in our network as technology makes recent science fiction a reality. It’s difficult to let the days go by when you realize it’s not the same as it ever was..

I hope my 50th trip around the sun comes with great experiences and great opportunities but you never know because….“Hey let’s all twist our thumbs…here comes the twister”!

It’s only “Once in a Lifetime”.

Recognizing an Anniversary

We laid my mother, Barbara Eakman, to rest a year ago today. Her body lies together with my father and brother in Colleyville, just a few miles from where she raised our family. I’ve never been much for gravesites as all their memories live within me but I felt compelled to visit on a recent trip to Texas. It was helpful to mark the passage of a year. 

I actually sat down to write a longer post but it became too personal. I’d simply like to note that I miss them greatly. It was a really tough year for me personally. And that time does help heal. I still have so many great memories and I recognize how lucky I was to have this family in the first place. I’m also looking forward to picking our kids up from camp this year with a lot more celebration and joy for the family we’ve created in this generation. 

So, hug your loved ones and tell them you love them. Keep your affairs in order. And enjoy the time you have on this planet. Here’s a fun pic of a certain 1980s family enjoying themselves on the slopes in better times.  

14 Bass Street

[UPDATE: This sold and closed in less than two weeks to a great new family joining the community at Colbert Boat Club]

Selling nearly 45 years of fun, laughter, friendship, and family memories

We’re selling our family lakehouse at 14 Bass Street just across the dam on the Oklahoma side of Lake Texoma. It’s easily accessible from DFW and an easy jaunt from Dallas Love field. The house is a part of The Colbert Boat Club. A private, gated community of 86 homes that is its own wonderful slice of Americana with 4th of July golf cart parades, New Year’s Eve bonfires, and sundowners on the point. It’s a beautiful lake but also an inexpensive place to hold, with low property taxes, small club dues, and a community-owned water plant. The community shares a clubhouse, a big beautiful sandy beach, and its own marina on the best part of the lake. 

Texoma is a BIG lake, with great rocky cliffs on the Texas shore and long, sandy beaches on the Oklahoma shore. It has a great inland striper fishery, a sailing regatta, and plenty of water for everyone. You’ll never get bored exploring the 12th-largest reservoir in the U.S.! 

Your Family Lake House

14 Bass is a 3-2-2 that has been improved over time with the most recent remodel in 2021. The house functions as a larger home with two living areas and two additional sleeping nooks.  It’s located just inside the gate and across from the clubhouse ensuring more security. It’s being sold “as-is” including furnishings so that it’s ready to go for your family. 

Features and updates include:

  • Updated kitchen, bath, full interior paint, carpet, and outdoor decks in 2021
  • Two new water heaters in 2022
  • Central heat/air with two new air conditioners in 2020
  • New roof in ~ 2018
  • New septic in December 2017
  • Completely furnished
  • Two additional sleeping nooks allow for several families at once
  • Colbert Boat Club is a membership model, meaning you transfer the membership and Lot #14 and its improvements together. This means that no traditional bank financing is typically available but the seller is willing to consider alternatives

Buyer Preferences

It’s my great hope that a family will buy and actively enjoy the house, beach, and community. It’s full of good memories and laughter for the next owner. We’ll continue to be a neighbor just down the street. I hope that the new owners will engage in the community, join the volunteer board, and benefit the club. My guess is that a family with young children or grandparents looking for an inexpensive place to live and host their grandchildren will be the most likely buyers. We’re asking $350,000 OBO with a preference for the right buyers. 

Please reach out to me at or 512-970-2030 with any questions or interest.  You can find add’l photos here and below. 

Time for a new plan

Well, if we weren’t already THERE, then we certainly are NOW. So much for a soft landing in venture land. The SVB crisis just made it real.

The cycle turn for venture has been greatly discussed over the last year. It’s true, valuations were down, capital was slowing, LPs were cooked, and GPs were tight. It was all reflected in the valuations, specifically in the public markets, and trickling down in the last couple of quarters to the early stage.

Companies responded as they felt increased pressure and heard but perhaps didn’t LISTEN to concerns of a greater cyclical nature. They didn’t feel it in their sales pipelines and their balance sheets seemed fairly solid. We knew what burn looked like and what it would take to get more capital after we drew down the venture debt available. Everyone had a plan, most of which included raising money over the next 18 months.

NOW, we have those same balance sheets that just shrunk runway by a meaningful amount. We know that there aren’t/won’t be enough banks to pick up where SVB left off and most of that venture debt is now gone. We should expect meaningfully less availability (no new?) and much more credit focus until the next cycle. That means….”Cash is King”, again.

We will all have to recalibrate and make tougher decisions as any flexibility has been taken out of the system. GPs know that equity will have to replace debt runway. A further winnowing of the portfolio just happened. CEOs know that equity is going to be more expensive and harder to get. They will also have to make tougher decisions. LPs are going to take a more critical eye towards VC generally, and even more so to adding new managers. Things just got tight. We’re THERE, NOW.

Now that we got a reprieve and we can make payroll this week…What does your new plan look like from here? Time to get back to work.

Thinking about a brother and a mother

Jonny and Barbara in Belize

It’s hard to write a post like this when your thoughts are jumbled. I suppose the ramblings below are meant to:
– Acknowledge a challenging time and make a call to move past that period for me
– Share gratitude for my family, partners, and friends that supported Barbara/me during this time

The last three years have been challenging for many reasons, not least of which Covid changing the way we work, live, and function as a society. It’s been a time…but I feel like that period is ending and we are finally moving on from a very intense period that will do down in history. For me, this was bookended by the passing of my brother, just before Covid began, and the passing of my mother, this summer.

Yesterday would have been Jonny’s 43rd birthday. And tomorrow, he died 3 years ago. One of the reasons that his passing was so intense is that it was outside the normal order of things. He was the younger brother and son that was supposed to outlive all of us and take care of our mother as she aged. When he died, my mother was understandably emotionally fraught and I had to step in to carry the load that comes with someone’s passing. It was a lot to absorb and I still have some grieving to do that was put off in the urgency to act. I suppose I’ll always think about him this time of year. I don’t want to make this post an annual tradition or some sort of “mopefest” for I know that it will eventually become a happy thing, where you remember the good memories more than anything else.

I’ve thought about Jonny a lot over the last six months. I really could have used his help as I navigated another intense period. My mother, Barbara, was diagnosed in March with advanced pancreatic cancer and we knew that she had a limited time to live. The statistical average is something like three months. She made it four. She passed on July 16th.

In the last few months of her life, I was lucky enough to be able to strip away much of the day-to-day and spend a lot of time with her in Texas. It was actually wonderful to get time with just the two of us and to be “home”, driving around in a city that had changed a lot but still evokes such memories and stories of your own childhood. Much of the time right after her diagnosis was spent between work calls/zooms. It was the ultimate bit of context switching. I would go from work mode to just sitting on the back porch, watching the familiar birds. We did have some important conversations but much of the benefit was just being present in the same space. Two or three times a day, something important would come out. The kind of things that don’t come out unless you give them space. Maybe it was the Texas heat that seemed to slow time down. Maybe it was the emotional intensity in the knowledge of death. I do know that I’m grateful for every minute, every conversation, and every story.

As her news spread and her health declined, I was amazed and grateful for the number of friends and family that stepped in to help. She had a lot of friends and they all came to help but I have to call out:

– My family, particularly Melissa, who turned me loose to focus on Barbara while she held our life together in Boulder. She also helped me clean out the house for the two weeks we were supposed to be on vacation this summer. That was really hard and we are overdue for a good holiday. My kids, who have experienced Jonny and Barbara passing with the resilience and trust of love and youth.
– Her brother and my uncle, Tom, for alternating weeks with me on the flight from Boulder to DFW. I’m glad she had time with her little brother in the end.
– Her partner and friend, Steve. He was incredible in his devotion to her and took on more than I could handle in those last few weeks. I’m so happy she found Steve in the last few years and only wish they had more time together. I don’t think Barbara could truly love until Jon passed (you’re only as happy as your least happy child) and Steve came back into her life at the perfect time. It was beautiful to see her find love and happiness at the end of her life.
– Her best friend, Vicki, and Vicki’s husband, Don. Vicki was her exercise buddy and her adopted family. Vicki provided key referrals and support to all of us even while grieving herself.
– Susan Cutts, who consistently came to visit and hung in there until the end. It makes me smile that she and Barbara became such great friends as I and her son have been as well.
– My partners at Foundry who gave me the space to turn off work and focus on family. I’ve been bumping along the bottom for a while but I’m just beginning to rally.
– Her caretaker, Linda, was an angel for all of us. If any of our friends in DFW need help for their aging parents, please reach out for her contacts.

A funeral is supposed to be a fitting send-off and celebration of one’s life. I loved seeing friends from all parts of her life. Her high school friends, her TCU friends, her First Hurst (church) friends, her grief group (GGs), her yoga instructor(!), and even a few of my father’s friends. The surprise for me was that I didn’t expect so many of my friends to show up. It was great to feel their love and support as well. Our cousin, Neil, delivered a wonderful eulogy and our friend, Jason, led some beautiful songs. I think Barbara would have been pleased. The reception afterward was so enjoyable that it produced the common lament that it takes a wedding or a funeral to pull together those you most love.

As I sit here on Sunday morning, there are so many more thoughts rumbling around. Perhaps some that I’ll write out to share as time and space allow. For example:
– Grief that takes a “month of Sundays” to show up and begin to process
– Embracing your role as a child, as a caregiver, as an executor, and some of the learnings I’ve been sharing with my friends that will have to walk this path
– Our place in this generational transition. AKA, we’re becoming the old people and that creates a change in perspective. Our role as the sandwich generation is hard, what does growing old look like?

All for another day. It’s Porchfest today in our neighborhood and I’m going to go celebrate life with friends and family.

Barbara Jean (Ellison) Eakman

Barbara Jean (Ellison) Eakman
October 10th, 1944 – July 16th, 2022

Barbara Jean (Ellison) Eakman, age 77, left us on July 16, 2022, after a brief illness with pancreatic cancer. She was comforted by her friends and family at home in Colleyville, Texas these past few months.

Barbara was born in Denton and raised in Denison, Texas with her loving parents, Ted and Faye Ellison. She graduated from Denison high school and Texas Christian University where she was part of the Delta Gamma sorority. She went on to serve in the USO, leading the officers club at the Nakhon Phanom Royal Thair Air Force Base, allowing her to experience new cultures and explore new horizons. She established her career as an educator in Dallas before focusing her time on raising two sons with her husband, Glen Evetts (“Ebb”) Eakman. They had a wonderful love for two decades before Ebb passed away at a young age. She was especially close with her younger child, Jonathan Eakman, who preceded her in death three years earlier. We are comforted she will now spend more time with the husband and son that she lost too early in life.

Barbara will be missed every day by her eldest son, Lindel Eakman, and his family who knew her as “Nana”. She is also survived by her brother, Tom Ellison, his family, a loving extended family, and a large set of long-time friends that supported and celebrated her through good times and hard spots. We are grateful for those friends that she considered an extended family.

Barbara knew that she had lived a full and good life. She reflected on a successful marriage and raising a great family. She also found love afterward. She counted herself lucky to have had meaningful relationships across her life. She was so very disappointed not to have more time with her companion, Steve Otis, with whom she shared a wonderful bond in these last years.

She was loved by many for her authenticity, with a candor that lacked criticism and a comfort in her own identity. She preferred “small-town people” and appreciated those values. Barbara was a spiritual believer, raising her children in the Methodist church. She enjoyed TCU Football and a special set of friends that came together to support the Horned Frogs over many decades. She was a gardener throughout her life, sharing a green thumb with her father and aunt, Juanita Williams. She loved the “good dirt” in the yard and memories made with her family at her lake house on Lake Texoma.

Graveside services will be held for Barbara on Saturday, July 23rd, at 10AM in the Garden of Rest at Bluebonnet Hills Cemetery located at 5725 Colleyville Blvd, Colleyville, Texas, 76034. Please join the family for a reception and lunch following the ceremony at Del Frisco’s Grille in Southlake located at 1200 E Southlake Blvd, Southlake, Texas 76092. For those that may be heat sensitive, we encourage you to join us for the reception at ~ 11AM.

In lieu of flowers, those who so desire may make memorial donations in memory of Barbara to Texas Christian University. The family would appreciate and cherish any stories, memories, or photos you could share to

Investing in & supporting Emerging Managers

I participated in a Raise LP Only Conference today as a speaker. It was a lot of fun and I hope it will be useful to the participants. I don’t know if they’ll share the recording but I thought it might be worth sharing my own notes here. My designated topic was how to support emerging managers once you’re invested. I love our Partner Fund group and only wish that we could have more slots to engage and support beyond our bandwidth and capital limitations. I’m hoping more LPs will figure out what we’ve seen first-hand, emerging managers drive returns and they’re more fun to invest with too!  LE 

Raise LP Conference Notes – 

I’m Lindel Eakman, partner at Foundry Group.  We invest in early stage tech companies across the U.S. and Canada.  We’re known as a series A firm but we’ve also built out a pretty unique network of Partner Funds that we use as a filter (not a funnel) to guide our own direct investing.  

So at this point today, we’ve covered:

  • Alan making the case for emerging managers, both returns and network benefits
  • Winter helping define what the emerging manager opportunity set looks like today
  • Courtney laying out some of the challenges and ways to find those managers in a crowded, noisy market
  • Erin guided us in how to vet these managers and acknowledged that sometimes it’s a bit more work
  • Alright, so now you’re invested!  I get to close with how you need to engage and support these managers more, but I’d also like to make the case that it’s not only worth it from a returns perspective, it’s a lot more FUN!

In my previous role at UTIMCO and now here at Foundry, I’ve been fortunate enough to invest in many emerging managers going back almost 20 years. It was always the most rewarding and most engaging part of the LP role. Now, as a GP and LP, I get to share some of that experience with these new managers. We structurally invest as a regular LP but we try to serve as a “senior GP that doesn’t take all the economics”.

We try to support emerging managers in the same way that we support companies.  What does that mean?

  • EMs are start-ups too. LPs can and should engage more frequently and actively. Recognize that they are building a business from the ground up, sometimes that means thinking more like a GP than an LP in your input.  Make sure to recognize that you’ll be successful when they are too.
  • EMs have LOTS of questions about:
    • GP Ownership and structure
    • LPA structures, service providers, capital call timing/capital call lines
    • portfolio construction, ownership and pricing
    • Early liquidity and recycling
    • Building a team, compensation, 
    • Future funds and what, exactly, are all those OTHER LPs thinking?
    • Fundraising and reporting/meetings are probably the most asked questions
  • What should you do as an LP?
    • Our goal is to provide mentorship from both a GP and LP perspective but the most important thing you can do is create a real relationship/partnership that provides an authentic open space to ask the “dumb” questions; let them know that you made a bet on them as a person and you’re there to support them. 
    • Be willing to lead. 
      • Participate/anchor the first close
      • Do the work on the legals, they have no clue when their attorney (G*&!&$SON) is giving them “middle of the road” advice that looks more like the Sequoia terms.  
      • In fact, get involved even earlier and help them pick the right service providers.   Help them structure GP ownership, management companies, vesting periods, etc.
    • I have a text message relationship with most of my GPs, be willing to take that call/text.  
      • At least have a more frequent interaction early on, maybe monthly/bi-monthly but keep it short and casual.  Have an email beforehand to establish the agenda and encourage their questions
    • Create community and mentorship – Can you help pair them with a more experienced manager in your portfolio?  Are there best practices you can pull from across your group?  
      • Helping them build networks for deal flow and follow-on investments should be part of your job.  You actually want your GPs sharing ideas if you trust their judgement, you’ll get more exposure to the best companies and you’re probably overdiversified anyway!

I’d also like to make the case that, even though EMs are more work – it’s way more fun to help someone build their business!  You get to have more influence and you’ll often find that you build real relationships that are rewarding and may be transformational. 

  • I was lucky enough to invest in a bunch of great funds that were formed in the 2000s, Think of names like: USV, True, IA, Spark and not least of which, Foundry.  USV led me to these other great managers when I took a bet on them. 
  • Here at Foundry, we’re lucky enough to invest in a bunch of funds from the 2010s, 
    • A few of the managers such as: Founder Collective, Freestyle, Homebrew, Resolute, Forerunner
  • Now, we’re investing in firms from the 2020s.  Not only do I think these returns will be great, but I also love that these firms are naturally more diverse.  
    • Our job as investors, whether GP or LP, is to put capital behind talent.  And I love that a more diverse network opens up new talent to back. That’s exciting!

I hope we’ve made the case for EMs, helped demystify some of the landscape and process but also emphasized that it’s more fun too.  You’re MISSING OUT on both returns, network, relationships, and FUN – I hope that you’ll join this group of LPs in backing more emerging managers.

Watching football and pretending everything is normal…

I took a week off and it made me realize how badly I needed a break. Mostly a mental break.

When you love your job, your life naturally intertwines with your work and vice-versa as many of your social interactions are also commingled. This year we’ve added constant zoom meetings as you work from home with no physical separation of the two. Now, layer on the constant low-level stress of physical health and economic uncertainty. Throw in virtual school and it’s really messy.  But you already knew all that. 

The week off included some time with friends, fishing and camping on the South Fork and Snake rivers in Wyoming. It was a group of friends that spanned from high school to venture capital for me but we weren’t focused on work. We enjoyed days outdoors with our minds focused on nothing more than fooling those beautiful cutthroat trout. We laughed and made fun of each other at night with good food and amazing stars. The energy of spending time outdoors with friends still sits with me. One of my friends described it as a mental “defrag”.  I love that, partly because it shows both our age and general nerd status.

The second part of the week had me volunteering in Yellowstone National Park with Clint Bybee as part of the ARCH Ventures volunteer program in support of Yellowstone Forever (please support if you are so inclined). We worked with a group of veterans from Warfighter Outfitters to help rebuild the corral at Canyon. It was a fun group of people to be around and their enthusiasm to lock-in and build together was inspiring. They had us cutting, carrying, welding, and pounding retired drilling pipe to build fences that will last longer than the people building them. I couldn’t stay for the whole week but was proud to spend a couple of days among that crowd. Again, working outdoors with a focus on giving back with an incredible group of people. 

The last, and best, part of the week was when my girls joined me in Jackson to see Teton and Yellowstone national parks. It was important to have a break and come back to my girls. I could be more present and patient, appreciating their enthusiasm even more. The girls loved the geysers, wildlife, and especially the bear we saw on a hike. I was glad it was a small black bear and not a brown bear! We know that it was just a preview of more time that we’ll spend in Jackson and the park but it was again, time spent outdoors with a focus on family.

Taking a break was really important and the week coming back (and catching up) only  reinforced how much I appreciated that “normal” time with friends and family.  I was able to forget about all the things of 2020. It gave me some of the mental break that I needed. 

My partner, Brad, has always espoused the benefit of quarterly vacations and practicing a digital sabbath. It provides you the mental break to process and an opportunity to reset. That’s why, today, I’m sitting on the couch and watching college football. Doing my best to find a brief moment of normal in 2020. Tomorrow, we’re going to get outside and hike together in Rocky Mountain National Park. It’s important to get some time with friends and family in the outdoors. 

This year is a real challenge. Make sure you take care of yourself. 

Jon’s Birthday

Today would have been my little brother’s 41st birthday and I will miss calling him to give him a proper ribbing. 

Jon, Jonny, Little Jon, or his trail name “Duke” unexpectedly left us last year just a few days following his 40th birthday on September 22nd. We’ve had almost a year now to reflect and try to wrap our heads around his passing. And what a year it’s been. I smile when I say this but perhaps Jonny knew 2020 was coming? He was always pretty good at spotting trouble and definitely smarter than me when it came to avoiding the hard stuff.

If Jon were here, I’d probably find some reason to give him a hard time and tell him I loved him while reminding him that he was getting old and turning grey like me. And to be honest, I’d probably still be judging and pushing him to be something different or something more than he was. He was five years younger and a wholly different person than me. I still don’t completely understand Jonny and wonder at how two boys that grew up together would bake so differently. We always struggled to find the right place to meet. I’ll take most of that blame as I kept waiting for Jon to be something else.

With a little time, I recognize that I could have met him in the place he was and been more accepting. It would have been good for both of us and enriched each of our lives more. So, I’ll share this as a reminder to meet your friends, your family, your spouse, and especially your children as you find them. It’s fine to have high expectations but don’t put your own hopes, dreams, values, or judgment on somebody else. Each person has their own life to lead and if you value the relationship, you’ll be better served to try and meet them on their path with love and compassion. 

One great part of the human condition is that you tend to focus memories on the good parts of any past relationship. I’m still working on it but this allows me to smile, shake my head, and laugh at so many funny memories with Jon. There are plenty of “only Jon” stories to be shared.  He was a great son, uncle, and brother that is especially missed today. 

Happy Birthday Jonny.