A year ago today, my friend Clint Miller lost a ridiculously gallant battle with testicular cancer.
I miss him every day.
Man, a lot of stuff has happened in the last year. Got a new job. Relocated. Had a heart attack. Sent the youngest to college. Watched the oldest move out. I learned a lot from all those life lessons.
But nothing and no one has taught me more about life in the last 12 months than Clint. The guy knew how to love and live.
I’ll never forget that.
Below is what I wrote the day after Clint died. If you weren’t fortunate enough to have known him, maybe this will help you get to know him. Note not how Clint died, but how he lived.
RIP big man.
What Clint Miller Taught Me About Life
Clint Aaron Miller
March 8, 1971 – December 11, 2011
It is not often that I sit and stare at a computer screen, and have no idea what to write…
Last night, Clint Miller passed away after an incredibly courageous battle with testicular cancer. Cancer that spread to his brain and elsewhere. It ravaged his body, but it could not touch that man’s huge heart.
Clint was 40 years old, and left behind a wonderful wife and some beautiful children.
He also left a legacy second to none, and taught me a lot about life.
I first met Clint three-something years ago when I sent him a Tweet, or an email, I don’t remember which, asking him why I kept getting “sales crap” from his company after I had unsubscribed. Within minutes after sending that message my phone rang. It was Clint calling, and apologizing for the snag, and promising to never send me another thing unless I asked.
What would normally be a 15 second phone call turned into 30 minutes. We talked about real estate, our families, sports, music, food and who knows what else. 30 minutes after I flamed the man I almost bought a subscription to his product just because I liked the guy so damn much.
Almost… (It is a great product and service, I just don’t happen to need it).
That 30 minute call blossomed swiftly into a great friendship.
Over the ensuing months and years, Clint and I conversed frequently, almost always through social media channels. We got to know each other. We talked, we laughed, we helped each other in business. And in life.
I never got another sales pitch from Clint.
In February of this year, Clint was diagnosed with Stage 3C testicular cancer. In typical Clint style, he was totally transparent about his diagnosis, prognosis and treatment.
Oh God, the treatment. Multiple rounds of chemotherapy. Radiation. Removal of the cancerous testicle. Multiple brain surgeries. Hospital stays, countless tests, time in the ICU, you name it, cancer threw it at him.
And the entire time, the entire time, he fought back with utterly remarkable strength, grace and courage. He educated us, encouraging men to self-examine themselves. He lauded his wife and kids. He cracked jokes. Some were hilarious, some not-so-much. He asked what he could do for us.
Read that last part again. Asked what he could do for us…
There wasn’t any self-pity, though he was certainly more than entitled to a healthy dose of that. No, Clint Miller was worried about others. Family, friends and mere acquaintances. He encouraged us to live each day of life to its fullest. To watch sunrises and sunsets. To be kind to each other. To love each other.
The man whose body was being ravaged by this insidious disease was a beacon of light and hope.
What did Clint Miller teach me about life?
He taught me about what is truly important — my family, and my friends. He taught me to “seize the day,” to, as put by Henry David Thoreau, “live deep and suck out all the marrow of life.”
Clint Miller lived deep and got more out of life in his far too short 40 years than most of us will garner in a normal life span.
That’s a hell of a life-lesson, and I thank my friend for that.
Two days before Clint died, I recorded the video embedded below. He was so sick at the end that I don’t think he ever saw it. But that’s OK because he knew how so many people felt about him. Many of you reading this have seen the video, some have not. I present it again because I think it captures some of what my friend Clint was all about, and I want you to know how loved he was (fair warning, contains a little “salty language).
Godspeed Clint. Don’t worry about Angela and the kids. They’re family now too, and a whole lot of people have their backs. Rest in peace my friend.
An important message from one of Clint’s daughters: “everyone keeps asking if there is anything they can do to help me well there is one thing! tell all the men in ur life to check themselves that way they don’t have to go through what my dad did bring awareness to this heartless disease that’s all I want. thank u all for keeping me and my family in ur hearts.”
There must be something in the Miller gene pool that makes them care about other people so much. So do it fellows… And tell your sons to do it too. Men over the age of 14 should do monthly exams. Here’s how.